Chocolate is a food derived from the beans of the tropical cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). It is mostly grown in western Africa where high temperature and rainfall provide perfect growing conditions. The chocolate is produced from cacao beans in a multi-stage process. After harvesting, the beans are allowed to ferment, then dried, cleaned, and grounded to produce a paste. This is then pressurized to form two ingredients known as chocolate (cocoa) liquor and cocoa butter. Different chocolates are made by blending the liquor and the butter by varying proportions. The finest dark (plain) chocolate is made with at least 70 per cent cacao liquor and butter while milk chocolate is made with only 50 per cent. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter without added cocoa liquor.
Why do people like chocolate so much?
Scientists were trying to understand the chemistry of chocolate for years. Researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California found that chocolate contains a feel-good chemical called anandamide. Normally anandamide is broken down quite quickly after it is produced, but San Diego chemists predicted anandamide in chocolate makes the natural anandamide in our brain persist for longer time, giving us a longer-lasting “chocolate high.”