Some Odd Chocolate Facts

Here are some little-known, odd chocolate facts that will make you go "Hmmmm."

Being chocolate extremos, odd chocolate facts are part of our stock in trade -- so we feel no compunctions about passing them on to all and sundry.

For example, because of a previous article, you may know that a humble chocolate bar was partly responsible for the invention of the microwave oven. But did you know that all that blood in the shower scene of Hitchcock's original Psycho was really chocolate syrup? Yup.

Thanks, Mexico!

We have the natives of Mexico to thank for introducing us to chocolate. It was a big part of their culture, and among the Olmecs, it was as much a staple food as pasta or rice is in other parts of the world. Imagine that!

Both the Mayans and Aztecs valued chocolate so much that they used cacao beans for currency. Otherwise, they reserved its use for ceremonies, including weddings and funerals. There's no record of them using it for baptisms per se (hmmm...), but they certainly drank it then.

The Aztec Emperor Montezuma used to drink dozens of pitchers of spiced chocolate daily, not just because he loved it but because he thought it gave him the strength to handle his harem. That's one of the reasons some folks consider chocolate an aphrodisiac today.

Firming It Up

For thousands of years, chocolate was just a drink. Then, in the 1700s, a group of Mexican nuns figured out a way to solidify it -- or at least so say the legends. Apparently, they needed some way to raise funds and be self-sufficient, and this was the method they chose.

That's ironic, because for a long time nuns weren't even allowed to eat chocolate, lest it tempt them to sexual sin. See, even the Church thought it was an aphrodisiac! Today it's considered acceptable, though. Oh, and by the way, Cadbury stole their thunder in 1842, when it introduced the first chocolate bar.

But it was pretty rough going until 1879, when Randolph Lindt invented the conching process, which smoothes and softens chocolate into the ambrosia we know and love today. The Swiss invented milk chocolate about that same time. Coincidence? We think not.

Better Than Sex

Let's end this exploration with a recent discovery that may explain a lot about chocolate's allure. Not only do most people get a bigger charge from eating chocolate than they do from kissing (gasp!) a recent survey in Britain revealed that 50% of women love chocolate more than sex (double gasp!).

So much for the aphrodisiac theory

Even most men surveyed admitted that they like chocolate more than going for a drive in a muscle car... and that may be the oddest of the odd chocolate facts you'll ever hear.