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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 4

Thirteen Things about Chocolate

I absolutely adore chocolate, so here are thirteen interesting facts about this lovely food.

1…. The word 'Chocolate' is derived from the Aztec word, 'cacahuatl' or ‘xocolatl’, which means 'bitter water'.

2.... Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans. Cocoa was originally called cacao, but became misspelt as cocoa, and the name stuck.

3.... Cocoa trees can only grow in warm, moist climates, and most cocoa comes from Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, all in West Africa. The botanical name for the cocoa tree is theobroma cacao - which roughly equates to the Greek term for 'food of the gods'.

4.... The Mayans and Aztecs believed that cocoa beans came from Paradise and would bestow the gifts of wisdom and power upon anyone who ate them.

5.... Cocoa beans were so precious to the Mayans and Aztecs, they used them as both a currency and a unit of calculation.

6.... There is some evidence to suggest that chocolate has aphrodisiac qualities. It is believed Emperor Montezuma of Mexico drank a chocolate drink before visiting his harem. Casanova also believed in the aphrodisiac properties of chocolate. Scientists say that chocolate contains stimulants such as caffeine, theobromine, and phenyethylamine, all of which produce a feeling of slight euphoria, which may account for the aphrodisiac effect.

7.... Chocolate is not as unhealthy as some may think. It contains theobromine and chromium, both of which help to control blood sugar.

8.... Although chocolate contains significant levels of fat, it is not believed to raise blood cholesterol.

9.... No matter how good it makes you feel, you should never feed chocolate to your cat or dog. The theobromine in it is incredibly toxic to dogs, cats, and many other household pets. By overstimulating their cardiac and nervous systems, it can kill them instantly.

10.... Cocoa beans were introduced into Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1528.

11.... Despite commonly held beliefs, chocolate does not cause or exacerbate acne. Research carried out by the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Naval Academy found that even daily consumption of chocolate had no effect on the incidence and severity of acne.

12.... Cocoa powder is a good dietary source of iron.

13.... Chocolate syrup was used instead of blood in the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho".

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jenn said...

"Food of the gods" ~ oh, yeah, I can see that!
Yummy list!

Ann Aguirre said...

I'm really happy with #7. Great list!

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Mmmmm, chocolate... Great list! :)

Nicholas said...

I was felling quite hungry till I got to #13 !

Wolfie said...

Yummy..chocolate..I just love them..