Our research leads us to believe that this is the true, definitive, purist ‘Chocolate Day‘, so celebrate with some of the high cocoa, rich, dark chocolate that makes you go tingly inside… Or failing that, stock up on chocolate biscuits, ice-cream and enjoy a day of secret treats and indulgence…
Chocolate may be the “food of the gods,” but for most of its 4,000-year history, it was actually consumed as a bitter beverage rather than as a sweet edible treat.
From cocoa to chocolate
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is the essential ingredient for chocolate. It was brought to us by the Spanish explorers Columbus and Cortés who learned about it from their encounters in the “New World
It only grows in the tropical heat of the equatorial forest. The shadow of the tall-growing plants protects the young tree against the burning sun or strong wind. After five years, it is strong enough to survive and start producing cocoa. The cocoa tree flowers all year round, in two cycles of six months. Thousands of minuscule white (female) and pink (male) flowers adorn stem and branches. No more than forty of the thousands of flowers will eventually develop into cocoa pods.
After six months, the cocoa pods are full-grown and are ready to be harvested. There are two harvests per year. In Ivory Coast and Ghana, the main harvest lasts from October to March and the mid-crop from May to August.
Is Dark Chocolate Really Good for Your Heart?
Cocoa contains epicatechins and catechins, which are similar to the polyphenols found in green tea; and quercetin, which is found in fruits and vegetables. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than milk chocolate because certain processing methods remove the polyphenols, which have a bitter flavor.