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Chocolate – The Food of Gods

According to famous American TV personality Matt Lauer - "Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can't remember what they are." Indeed chocolate is something you can never have enough of. It lightens your spirits and gives you that feel good kick. It’s probably nature’s way of making up for bad moments!

Since time immemorial chocolate has been an all at once satiater of our spirits, senses and heart. The name itself makes our taste buds all hyperactive and excited. To top it all, this lip-smacking delicacy is manufactured in millions of varieties to pamper the chocoholics more and more.

History
This irresistible concoction is obtained from pods or beans of the Cacao tree. The word cacao means “god food” in Mayan, which was a civilization in South Mexico and Central America about fifteen hundred years ago. Therefore, the modern chocolate of today is centuries old. The cacao tree grows in the tropical rain forests of Central America. The favourable climate to cultivate chocolate is hot and humid, with round the year rainfall. However, the first chocolate was in the form of a bitter drink very unlike the modern day chocolate. It was after about three hundred years that the first chocolate bars came into existence in Bristol, England. The credit goes to the Fry and Sons Company.

Production
The cacao pod is big and contains the seeds called beans or better known as cocoa beans. After fermenting the beans for a week or so, they are sun-dried and shipped to the manufacturer.
The chocolate manufacturer then roasts the bean which brings out the flavour and aroma. After roasting, the meat or nib from the beans is removed from their shells and this process is called Winnowing. Chocolate makers blend beans of different varieties to produce different flavours. After all this comes the grinding of nibs to produce a thick dark fluid called chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is blended with milk solids, sugar and extra cocoa butter to form chocolate. Also chocolate liquor has some content of cocoa butter, which is squeezed out under very high pressure. The remnant solid is used to produce cocoa powder.

Some Famous Chocolatiers of the World

Here are some well known chocolate makers of the world and their famous brands that bring us the best chocolates:

Scharffen Berger
Makers of the finest American dark chocolates, some famous brands are Finisterra and Cacao Extra Rich Milk Chocolate.

Hershey
The famous American chocolate maker who’s Almond Joy, Mounds and Reese's, NutRageous candy bars are very popular.

Lindt
Swiss Chocolates, some popular products are Mint, Orange and Cherry Intense, Lindor ball.

Ghirardelli
Famous American chocolates with its popular Milk chocolate and caramel filling, Filled Chocolate Squares.

Some interesting facts about Chocolate
• Cacao beans were used in the form of currency in ancient Mexico
• Also known as the “Sun King”, the French Ruler, Louis XIV, had a position entitled as Royal Chocolate Maker to the King
• Napoleon Bonaparte insisted that wine from the Burgundy vineyard and chocolate be made available during military campaigns
• Milk chocolate came into existence after 8 years of experimentation by Daniel Peter of Switzerland who sold the product to his neighbor Henri Nestle, who founded the Nestle Chocolate Company
• In the famous shower scene of the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho” chocolate syrup was used to fake blood. This scene was shot in 7 days

The unique chocolate once considered a sumptuous product has now transformed into a concoction of passion, refinement and joy. It’s matchless and delectable in its own sweet way. Considered as the love drug and feel good drug by researchers, chocolate contains the ingredient to take you to that ecstatic level. Forget those melancholic dull days and indulge!

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