Fun and interesting chocolate facts for kids and adults young in heart alike! Perfect list of fun chocolate facts which can be used for educational purposes at schools, great way to let children to learn about chocolate or use it as chocolate quiz for parties or friends get-together.
When I used to run chocolate parties for adults and children, everyone wanted to know fun facts about chocolate, so I thought I’d do a bit of research and write up the most interesting facts about chocolate.
I started to collect these fun facts about chocolate since I started my chocolate making business Cocoa & Heart in 2010. Over the years, I’ve gathered quite a collection, so I hope you enjoy diving in the amazing world of chocolate!
So here are a few chocolate facts for kids, teachers and parents too, since you might be the one trying to explain where chocolate comes from.
PIN THIS LIST TO KEEP IT FOR LATER
CHOCOLATE TRIVIA & QUIZZES
- Traditional Sweets & Chocolate Quiz >>
- Chocolate Advertising Slogan’s Quiz >>
- Chocolate Trivia Quiz >>
1. Chocolate comes from America
Chocolate originally comes from America. More specifically, cocoa trees were known to be planted in Mexico, Central (Latin America) and South America at around 1250 BC.
2. The name chocolate comes from xocolatl
The origin of the word “chocolate” is not exactly known, but it is believed to have come from the Aztec word “xocolatl,” which means “bitter water”. The word “xocolatl” referred to a bitter drink made from ground cacao beans that was consumed by the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican cultures.
When the Spanish brought cacao to Europe in the 16th century, they adapted the word to “chocolatl” or “chocolate” and began to sweeten the drink with sugar and other ingredients to make it more palatable.
3. The name for the cocoa tree (in Latin) means ‘food of the gods’
Chocolate has been referred to as the “food of the gods” due to its historical and cultural significance in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations.
The ancient Maya and Aztec cultures believed that chocolate was a sacred food that had been given to them by their gods. They used chocolate in religious ceremonies, as a form of currency, and as a drink that was reserved for royalty and other elite members of society.
The name “Theobroma cacao,” which is the scientific name for the cocoa tree, translates to “food of the gods” in Greek, further emphasizing the cultural significance of chocolate as a divine food. Today, the term “food of the gods” is often used more broadly to describe chocolate’s rich and indulgent flavour, as well as its cultural and historical significance.
4. Milk chocolate is the most popular type of chocolate
Most children have to be persuaded to taste dark chocolate because it tends to be more bitter – even though it is healthier. So children, on the whole, go for milk chocolate first and foremost.
5. White chocolate is a chocolate
For starters, you could take the hard line and say that white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids and so technically isn’t chocolate at all!
We wish you luck trying to explain that one! So, intead of this, we usually say that because white chocolate has still cocoa butter, we can still count it as a ‘chocolate’. I find that, that’s much more acceptable for children (as it’s usually their favourite type of chocolate!).
6. Chocolate has it’s own national day
The 7 July is each year celebrated as a National Chocolate Day. As the story goes it celebrates the anniversary of the first European chocolate purchase in 1550.
There are other chocolate days, that are celebrated through the years, such as 13 September, 28 October and the whole month of February is also often celebrated as a chocolate month. September 22nd is National White Chocolate Day. National Hot Chocolate Day is celebrated on January 31st.
7. Chocolate melts at body temperature
Chocolate taste so delicious, because it melts very close to the temperature of our body. If you let chocolate melt on your tongue (if you let it stay there for long enough) it taste even better than if you just eat the chocolate unmelted.
This is because chocolate’s melting point is the same as a temperature of a human body (about 37 Celsius or 93 Fahrenheit).
8. At one time you could pay with chocolate instead of money
Worth its weight in gold? Well almost, the ancient Aztecs in Central America, where chocolate originated from – used the cacao seed as a form of currency.
This is because it could be kept stored for long periods and was highly prized. These days you’ll probably see chocolate coins only at Christmas.
Soldiers were also often paid in chocolate in mid 18 century.
9. Chocolate bar was part of an army food ration
During the second world war, US troops had a bar of chocolate as part of their essential army rations. Go to work on an egg and go to war on a candy bar.
Try telling them that if they start to fight over the last M&Ms? If you fancy knowing more about chocolate during the war head over to this blog post here.
10. Cocoa tree only grows close to the earth’s equator
Cacao trees only grow in temperate regions with plenty of sun and rainfall and only about 20 degrees from the Equator. The cocoa tree plant is so sensitive to these conditions, that you can’t naturally grow it anywhere else in the world.
11. The biggest cocoa growers and producers are in Africa
West Africa now produces the most chocolate with Ivory Coast being the world’s biggest producer with between 30-40% of total cocoa grown there. The top 10 chocolate producing countries also include Ghana, Peru and Brazil.
There are over 58 main cocoa producing countries growing anything from 700,000 tonnes of cocoa to just 1 ton a year.
12. There are only 3 main types of cocoa plant
how many varieties of cocoa plant there are?
There are three main varieties of cocoa plants: Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario.
Forastero is the most commonly grown variety and accounts for the majority of cocoa production worldwide due to its high yield and resistance to disease.
Criollo is a rare and delicate variety that is highly prized for its complex flavour profile, but is less commonly grown due to its susceptibility to disease.
Trinitario is a hybrid of Forastero and Criollo that was developed in Trinidad in the 18th century and is now widely grown in many cocoa-producing regions.
Whilst there are seven more types of cocoa plants variations, these tree are the main ones.
13. You need 400 cacao beans to make one chocolate bar
Numbers play a big part in chocolate facts for kids. It can take up to 400 cacao beans to make just one bar of chocolate.
14. Each cocoa pod has only 60 seeds
That’s a lot of beans and lot of cacao pods. Each pod has about 60 seeds. I’m surprised that chocolate is as cheap as it is!
15. Cacao tree can live up to 200 years
Cacao trees can grow for up to 200 years, but their cocoa beans are only harvested for the first 25 years of the tree life. In one year, a cacao tree produces around 2,000 pods. It takes a minimum of 4 years before mature cacao tree starts bearing first cocoa pods.
16. Cocoa pods don’t grow on the tree branches
Cocoa tree is super strange tree. The tree flowers directly from the tree trunk, which means that the cocoa pods also grow straight from the trunk of the tree and not on overhanging branches.
There is a good reason for this, as the cocoa pods can be very heavy when matured (so branches couldn’t hold them) and the branch leaves job is (instead) to protect the cocoa pods against rain and direct sun.
17. Cocoa tree flowers are not fragrant
The flowers of cacao tree are not fragrant and they don’t attract naturaly any insect to polinate them.
That is why these days, the cacao farmers go around all the cacao plant trees with a soft brushes and polinate all flowers by themselves. To make sure there is a good harvest, they need to make sure the pods have the best chances of growth.
The cocoa tree is evergreen and the closest related plants are cotton and okra (or bhindi – or ladies fingers – small green pods, that are used in soups, stews and curries.
18. Cocoa pods harvesting is done by hand
Because the cacao pods grow so close to the trunks of the tree plant, they have to be carefully removed by hand by the farmers workers.
To this date, there hasn’t been a machinery developed for cocoa pods harvesting that would do this instead of people. The seeds are picked and then harvested mostly by hand. So it’s hard work especially in such hot and humid conditions.
19. Chocolate bars are very rarely produced in the countries where the cocoa tree grows
Chocolate bars are rarely produced in the countries where the cocoa tree grows due to a variety of factors.
One of the main reasons is that many cocoa-producing countries lack the infrastructure and technology needed to process cocoa beans into chocolate bars. Producing chocolate requires specialized equipment and expertise, as well as access to other ingredients such as sugar and milk that may not be readily available in the same regions where cocoa is grown.
Many cocoa-producing countries have historically focused on exporting raw cocoa beans rather than processing them into finished products, which has led to a lack of investment in local chocolate-making industries. As a result, most of the world’s chocolate is produced in countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States, which have well-established chocolate-making industries and access to the necessary resources and technology.
20. Good quality chocolate is healthy
If your kids are still curious then there’s a chemistry lesson in understanding what makes up chocolate.
This is because it contains a wide range of nutrients including vitamins such as Vitamin-B and minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron. It’s safe to say, that a good quality dark chocolate can be really good for you!
Dark chocolate is also full of antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and in case of heart disease slow down or even reduce the illness.
Oh, but don’t forget, that there’s a fair bit of fat and sugar in the average supermarket chocolate bar, so that kind of chocolate is not particularly healthy and should be only eaten as a real treat – occasionally!
21. Smelling chocolate can make you feel relaxed
Chocolate especially melted chocolate smells amazing and it increases a type of brain waves called theta, which make us relaxed. No wonder that we enjoy chocolate so much!
22. Cacao has very complex flavours
Depending on where the cocoa bean has grown and matured, the flavours of plain cocoa can be very complex. Cocoa has over 600 types of flavours which can be identified (not all at the same time) and depending on how they are combined together the final flavour of the cocoa (and the chocolate varies).
This is why chocolate from Mexico will taste completely different than from Madagascar or Peru. They could be the same 75% cocoa solids dark chocolates with exactly the same amount of cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar, but the flavour will be different based on where the cocoa has grown (on the soil composition, level of humidity, temperature, other plants present on the farm etc.).
23. Chocolate was originally a drink, not a chocolate bar
If your kids are eating you out of chocolate, tell them that chocolate was drank long before it was ever eaten. Again, the Aztecs drank it with water and spices and it probably tasted very bitter and not like a cup of hot nutella chocolate today.
For a long time, chocolate was served as a rich and thick drink or served as a sauce for example with traditional Spanish churros or as sauce for decorating cakes.
24. On average each person eats up to 3 kgs of chocolate a year in UK
The first bars of chocolate didn’t appear until the mid 19th century. Now they disappear at an alarming rate. It’s been calculated that the average Brit eats up to 3kg of chocolate a year.
The total world consumption of chocolate is over 3 billion pounds (or about 1,7 billion kilos) per year.
25. People in Switzeland eat the most chocolate
According to the latest data, Switzerland is the country that eats the most chocolate, with an average of 10.9 kg per person per year. Other countries that consume a high amount of chocolate include Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
26. Don’t give chocolate to dogs
Chocolate is really not good for dogs. It can slow their heart and make them very ill. Dark chocolate is much worse for dogs than milk or white chocolate and this is because of the amount of cocoa solids that are in the dark chocolate. The worse chocolate for dogs would be 100 % cocoa solids chocolate bar, that has the maximum amount of cocoa.
27. Chocolate contains caffeine
Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant that can help to increase alertness and energy levels. Caffeine is found in varying amounts in different types of chocolate, with darker chocolate generally containing more caffeine than milk chocolate. The amount of caffeine in chocolate can range from as little as 2 milligrams per ounce in white chocolate to as much as 70 milligrams per ounce in dark chocolate.
While the amount of caffeine in chocolate is generally lower than that found in coffee or tea, it can still have a mild stimulating effect on the body and may affect some people’s sleep patterns if consumed in large amounts or close to bedtime. Some people, who are sensitive to caffeine might find that chocolate gives them a headache.
28. The first hot chocolate was drank cold and without milk
The first hot chocolate was invented by Aztecs, but it was not hot and was served without milk. It was made by the Aztecs and it was a chocolate drink made from 100% cocoa solids, hot water and a chilli flakes.
This kind of drink wouldn’t have any sugar or sweetener in or milk or cream and would have tasted quite bitter and more savoury than the hot chocolate we know today.
It wasn’t until cocoa was made more popular in Europe in 17 century, when chocolate started to be served hot and made with milk and sugar.
29. Chocolate drink instead of food
It’s fairly well know that Aztecs drank a lot of chocolate. Since chocolate was expensive, not everyone could afford it, but one of the Aztecs kings Montezuma II drank up to 50 cups of chocolate day.
At the time chocolate was thought to have many healing properties and since it was quite rich (even drank with just water and chilli spice) it was also used instead of food. This is why Montezuma drank so many cups a day, he simply didn’t eat much else other than chocolate (and it probably wasn’t every single day).
30. The most expensive chocolate bar ever sold
In 2001, a 100-year-old chocolate bar was sold at an auction in London, England, for £470 ($686 USD). The chocolate bar was made by Cadbury’s and was taken on Captain Robert Scott’s first Discovery expedition to the Antarctic between 1901 and 1904. The chocolate bar was part of a larger supply of cocoa and chocolate that Scott took on the trip.
The chocolate bar was still wrapped and uneaten, and was found in a cigarette tin. It was bought by an anonymous buyer at the Christie’s auction in London. The bar is considered the most valuable chocolate bar in the world and holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive chocolate bar sold at auction.
The 100-year-old chocolate bar is a rare and unique artifact of Antarctic exploration history, and its sale demonstrates the enduring fascination with the heroic age of exploration. The chocolate bar’s high price also reflects the value placed on rare and historic artifacts by collectors and enthusiasts.
31. The largest chocolate bar
The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 5,792.50 kg. This chocolate bar was made by Thorntons.
32. The first chocolate bar was made in 1842 in England
The first chocolate bar was made in 1842 by the Cadbury Chocolate Company and it was dark chocolate bar. This was because at the time, the chocolate companies couldn’t work out how to add the milk to the chocolate, so we had to wait another few years before milk and finally white chocolate bars were made.
33. The first milk chocolate bar was made in Switzerland
It took another 35 years before the first ever milk chocolate bar was made in 1875 – 87 in Switzerland. Until then all attempts to make milk chocolate were not successful because the chocolate companies were trying to add regular milk in liquid form. The problem is that if you add water to melted chocolate it seizes and goes hard.
In 1857, a chocolatier Daniel Peter came up with an idea to mix milk into a chocolate bar, but he faced challenges in removing the water from the milk. The chocolate mixture was seizing, didn’t look particularly appetising and the high moisture level led to the formation of mildew.
After many attempts, Daniel Peter’s friend and neighbour, Henri Nestlé, helped him by inventing a milk condensation process that produced dry powdered milk. After seven years of refining his formula, Peter finally launched his ‘Gala Peter’ milk chocolate brand in 1887 and the milk chocolate bar was born!
34. The invention of white chocolate is less than 100 years old
White chocolate was invented by the Swiss chocolate manufacturer Nestlé in the 1930s. The company used a blend of milk solids, sugar, and cocoa butter to create a type of chocolate that was ivory in colour and lacked the cocoa solids found in milk and dark chocolate. While the exact inventor of white chocolate is unknown, Nestlé is credited with popularizing the white chocolate and making it widely available to consumers.
35. Ruby chocolate is the youngest type of chocolate invented
Ruby chocolate was invented in 2017 by the Belgian-Swiss cocoa company, Barry Callebaut. The company had been working on developing the new type of chocolate since 2004 and was granted a patent for it in 2015. Ruby chocolate was officially unveiled at a private event in Shanghai on September 5, 2017.
Ruby chocolate is considered special because it is the newest type of chocolate to be introduced in over 80 years, following the invention of white chocolate in the 1930s. It has a distinct flavour profile that balances fruitiness and smoothness (the taste is very close to raspberry taste), which is different from traditional chocolate varieties like milk and dark chocolate.
Ruby chocolate is also unique because it is made from the ruby cocoa bean, which has a natural pink colour and a higher acidity level than other types of cocoa beans. This contributes to its fruity flavour and gives it a unique taste and texture that sets it apart from other types of chocolate. Ruby chocolate does not contain any added colouring or flavouring, which makes it very unique type of chocolate.
36. The famous Snickers bar was named after a horse
Snickers is a popular chocolate bar that was first introduced by the Mars, Inc. company in 1930 and was named after a horse owned by the Mars family.
The bar has of a nougat center that is topped with caramel and peanuts, and then coated in milk chocolate.
Snickers bars used to be promoted as filling snack that can help to curb hunger and provide energy. The brand has also been known for its memorable advertising campaigns, which have included slogans such as “You’re not you when you’re hungry” and “Hungry? Grab a Snickers.”
37. Chocolate milk was originally marketed as a recovery drink for athletes in the 1920s
Chocolate milk was first marketed as a recovery drink for athletes in the 1920s, when researchers began to study the benefits of carbohydrates and protein for post-exercise recovery. Chocolate milk is a particularly effective recovery drink due to its combination of carbohydrates, protein, and electrolytes, which can help to replenish glycogen stores, repair muscle tissue, and rehydrate the body after exercise.
In the 1960s and 1970s, chocolate milk became a popular recovery drink among athletes, particularly in the endurance sports community. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s and 2000s that scientific studies began to confirm the benefits of chocolate milk as a recovery drink. A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that chocolate milk was just as effective as commercial recovery drinks for promoting post-exercise recovery in endurance athletes.
Since then, chocolate milk has become a popular recovery drink among athletes of all levels, and is often recommended by sports nutritionists and trainers as a convenient and effective way to refuel after exercise. Many sports teams and organizations now offer chocolate milk as a recovery drink, and some schools have even replaced traditional sports drinks with chocolate milk as a healthier and more affordable option.
38. M&Ms were invented as a war time snack for soldiers
M&Ms were originally invented in 1941 during World War 2, when the company was asked to make a chocolate that wouldn’t easily melt.
At the time, Mars, Inc. was a major supplier of chocolate to the military, but the company faced a problem: chocolate bars tended to melt in the hot climates where many soldiers were stationed, making them difficult to transport and consume.
To solve this problem, Mars, Inc. developed a new type of candy that had a hard candy shell surrounding a chocolate center. The candy was designed to be resistant to melting, which made it ideal for military use. The candy was initially called “M&M’s” (short for “Mars & Murrie’s,” after the company’s founders), and was sold exclusively to the military during the war.
After the war, M&Ms became available to the general public, and quickly became a popular candy around the world. The M&M’s unique design and colourful appearance helped to set it apart from other chocolates and sweets on the market, and its association with the military gave it a patriotic appeal that resonated with consumers.
This blog post was originally written on 17 September 2017 and last updated on 17 April 2023