Sometimes a tasty snack is just needed to help move the day along. Seen in the shops in their perfectly shining packages sits one of the nation’s favorite desserts and sweet treats – chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate, and any excuse for chocolate is a good one!
Whether it’s a single chocolate every day in an advent calendar in the run-up for the festive period or chocolate rabbits and Easter eggs on Easter Sunday, there is nothing quite like the delicious snack.
Chocolate actually comes from cocoa farms all the way over in West Africa; there are over 1.5 million different cocoa farms in West Africa where cocoa is taken from a plant and harvested to turn it into the product we see in our supermarkets in products such as Mozart chocolates.
The cacao leaves depend on the sun and require hot temperatures to create the cocoa seeds that will then be harvested. Creating chocolate is a hard one, especially considering that it has to be raised by hand, making this a laborious task.
What is a Cacao plant?
Cacao trees are where the chocolate beans originate. These plants can grow to be over 200 years old. These plants are grown on cocoa farms which are an average of seven to ten acres. Most of these farms are family-run. This business is a hard one, especially as cacao plants are very fragile, meaning that the farms actually lose around 30 percent of their crop every single year.
The Cocoa bean
It takes just over 400 cocoa beans to produce one pound of chocolate, with each cacao plant producing around 2,500 beans.
How does chocolate affect us?
As much as people have been told to limit their intake of sugar for a healthy diet, it has been found that chocolate can help support a healthy diet and lifestyle. As long as it is part of a broader healthy diet and active lifestyle and is only eaten in moderation! Caffeine is a strong component of chocolate, with the average portion of milk chocolate containing the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee.
Chocolate always has and probably will always be incredibly popular. For example, the UK spending on chocolate goes up by 50 million each year. With the estimated worth of the industry being 110 billion dollars a year, this is an extremely financially attractive industry. Americans actually buy 58 million+ pounds of chocolate every year on Valentine’s Day, making this single day the reason for 5 percent of its yearly sales!
Is chocolate the perfect gift?
Shopping for a gift for someone can be stressful, especially if it is not someone that is a close friend. The pressures can build, and sometimes the simplest answer is the best one. One of the great things about chocolate is how convenient of a gift it really is. It can be enjoyed by anyone for any reason at any time and is sold on every corner and modest prices, making this the perfect last-minute gift or thoughtful gesture for anyone to do.