Chocolate: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chocolate most commonly comes in dark, milk, and white varieties, with cocoa solids contributing to the brown coloration.

Chocolate (pronounced En-us-chocolate.ogg /ˈtʃɒklɪt/ or /-ˈəlɪt/) comprises a number of raw and processed foods produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. The majority of the Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages, including the Aztecs, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor.

After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids (and thus does not qualify to be considered true chocolate).

Cocoa solids contain alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Some research found that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure.[1] The presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals,[2] especially dogs and cats.

Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, chocolate coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and hearts on Valentine's Day. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk and hot chocolate. The world's top producer of cacao beans is Africa, where recent controversy has focused on the use of child labor in cocoa production.



The word "chocolate" entered the English language from Spanish.[3] How the word came into Spanish is less certain, and there are multiple competing explanations. Perhaps the most cited explanation is that "chocolate" comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, from the word "chocolatl", which many sources derived from the Nahuatl word "xocolatl" made up from the words "xococ" meaning sour or bitter, and "atl" meaning water or drink.[3] However, as William Bright noted[4] the word "chocolatl" doesn't occur in central Mexican colonial sources making this an unlikely derivation. Santamaria[5] gives a derivation from the Yucatec Maya word "chokol" meaning hot, and the Nahuatl "atl" meaning water. More recently Dakin and Wichmann derive it from another Nahuatl term, "chicolatl" from Eastern Nahuatl meaning "beaten drink".[6] They derive this term from the word for the frothing stick, "chicoli".


The word "chocolate" originates in Mexico's Aztec cuisine, derived from the Nahuatl word xocolatl.

Theobroma cacao, native to Mexico, Central and South America, has been cultivated for at least three millennia in that region. Cocoa mass was used originally in Mesoamerica both as a beverage and as an ingredient in foods.

Chocolate has been used as a drink for nearly all of its history. The earliest record of using chocolate dates back before the Olmec. In November 2007, archaeologists reported finding evidence of the oldest known cultivation and use of cacao at a site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, dating from about 1100 to 1400 BC.[7] The residues found and the kind of vessel they were found in indicate that the initial use of cacao was not simply as a beverage, but the white pulp around the cacao beans was likely used as a source of fermentable sugars for an alcoholic drink.[7] The Maya civilization grew cacao trees in their backyard,[8] and used the cacao seeds it produced to make a frothy, bitter drink.[9] Documents in Maya hieroglyphs stated that chocolate was used for ceremonial purposes, in addition to everyday life.[10] The chocolate residue found in an early ancient Maya pot in Río Azul, Guatemala, suggests that Maya were drinking chocolate around 400 AD. In the New World, chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink called xocoatl, and was often flavored with vanilla, chili pepper, and achiote (known today as annatto).[11] Xocoatl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that is probably attributable to the theobromine content. Chocolate was also an important luxury good throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and cacao beans were often used as currency.[12] For example, the Aztecs used a system in which one turkey cost one hundred cacao beans and one fresh avocado was worth three beans.[13] South American and European cultures have used cocoa to treat diarrhea for hundreds of years.[14] All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a "tribute".[15]

Until the 16th century, no European had ever heard of the popular drink from the Central and South American peoples.[16] It was not until the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs that chocolate could be imported to Europe. In Spain it quickly became a court favorite. In a century it had spread and become popular throughout the European continent[16] To keep up with the high demand for this new drink, Spanish armies began enslaving Mesoamericans to produce cacao.[17] Even with cacao harvesting becoming a regular business, only royalty and the well-connected could afford to drink this expensive import.[18] Before long, the Spanish began growing cacao beans on plantations, and using an African workforce to help manage them.[19] The situation was different in England. Put simply, anyone with money could buy it.[20] The first chocolate house opened in London in 1657.[20] In 1689, noted physician and collector Hans Sloane developed a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica which was initially used by apothecaries, but later sold to the Cadbury brothers in 1897.[21]

For hundreds of years, the chocolate making process remained unchanged. When the people saw the Industrial Revolution arrive, many changes occurred that brought about the food today in its modern form. A Dutch family's (van Houten) inventions made mass production of shiny, tasty chocolate bars and related products possible. In the 1700s, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate.[22] But, it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats we see today.[23] When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.[24]


A half beat of milk chocolate with salmiak filling by Fazer

Several types of chocolate can be distinguished. Pure, unsweetened chocolate contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining chocolate with sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. "White chocolate" contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids. Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have some physiological effects in humans, but the presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals, such as dogs and cats.[2] It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Dark chocolate has been promoted for its health benefits, as it seems to possess substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals.

White chocolate is formed from a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter and milk solids. Although its texture is similar to milk and dark chocolate, it does not contain any cocoa solids. Because of this, many countries do not consider white chocolate as chocolate at all.[25] Although first introduced by Hebert Candies in 1955, Mars, Incorporated was the first to produce white chocolate within the United States. Because it does not contain any cocoa solids, white chocolate does not contain any theobromine, meaning it can be consumed by animals.

Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to the cacao mixture. The U.S. Government calls this "sweet chocolate", and requires a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor. European rules specify a minimum of 35% cocoa solids.[26] Dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, is a rich source of epicatechin and gallic acid, which are thought to possess cardioprotective properties. Dark chocolate has also been said to reduce the possibility of a heart attack when consumed regularly in small amounts.[27] Semisweet chocolate is a dark chocolate with a low sugar content. Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin have been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking.

Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor, also known as bitter or baking chocolate. It is unadulterated chocolate: the pure, ground, roasted chocolate beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavor.


Chocolate is created from the cocoa bean. A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening

Roughly two-thirds of the entire world's cocoa is produced in Western Africa, with 43% sourced from Côte d'Ivoire,[28] where child labor is a common practice to obtain the product.[29][30] See the Wikipedia article children in cocoa production for a description of this problem and proposed solutions. According to the World Cocoa Foundation, some 50 million people around the world depend on cocoa as a source of livelihood.[31] In the UK, most chocolatiers purchase their chocolate from them, to melt, mold and package to their own design.[32] Despite some disagreement in the EU about the definition, chocolate is any product made primarily of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Production costs can be decreased by reducing cocoa solid content or by substituting cocoa butter with another fat. Cocoa growers object to allowing the resulting food to be called "chocolate", due to the risk of lower demand for their crops.[31]

There are two main jobs associated with creating chocolate candy, chocolate makers and chocolatiers. Chocolate makers use harvested cacao beans and other ingredients to produce couverture chocolate. Chocolatiers use the finished couverture to make chocolate candies (bars, truffles, etc.).[33]

Cacao varieties

chocolate cream

Cacao trees are small, understory trees that need rich, well-drained soils. They naturally grow within 20 degrees of either side of the equator because they need about 2000 millimeters of rainfall a year, and temperatures in the range of 21 to 32 degrees Celsius. Cacao trees cannot tolerate a temperature lower than 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).[34]

The three main varieties of cacao beans used in chocolate are criollo, forastero and trinitario.

Representing only five percent of all cocoa beans grown,[35] criollo is the rarest and most expensive cocoa on the market and is native to Central America, the Caribbean islands and the northern tier of South American states.[36] There is some dispute about the genetic purity of cocoas sold today as Criollo, as most populations have been exposed to the genetic influence of other varieties. Criollos are particularly difficult to grow, as they are vulnerable to a variety of environmental threats and produce low yields of cocoa per tree. The flavor of Criollo is described as delicate yet complex, low in classic chocolate flavor, but rich in "secondary" notes of long duration.[37]

The most commonly grown bean is forastero,[35] a large group of wild and cultivated cacaos, most likely native to the Amazon basin. The African cocoa crop is entirely of the Forastero variety. They are significantly hardier and of higher yield than Criollo. The source of most chocolate marketed,[35] forastero cocoas are typically strong in classic "chocolate" flavor, but have a short duration and are unsupported by secondary flavors, producing "quite bland" chocolate.[35]

Trinitario is a natural hybrid of Criollo and Forastero. Trinitario originated in Trinidad after an introduction of Forastero to the local Criollo crop. Nearly all cacao produced over the past five decades is of the Forastero or lower-grade Trinitario varieties.[38]


Cacao pods are harvested by cutting the pods from the tree using a machete, or by knocking them off the tree using a stick. The beans with their surrounding pulp are removed from the pods and placed in piles or bins to ferment. The fermentation process is what gives the beans their familiar chocolate taste. It is important to harvest the pods when they are fully ripe because if the pod is unripe, the beans will have a low cocoa butter content, or there will be insufficient sugars in the white pulp for fermentation, resulting in a weak flavor. After fermentation, the beans must be quickly dried to prevent mold growth. Climate and weather permitting, this is done by spreading the beans out in the sun from 5 to 7 days.[39]

The dried beans are then transported to a chocolate manufacturing facility. The beans are cleaned (removing twigs, stones, and other debris), roasted, and graded. Next the shells are removed to extract the nib. Finally, the nibs are ground and liquefied, resulting in pure chocolate in fluid form: chocolate liquor. The liquor can be further processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.[40]


Chocolate made with enough cocoa butter flows gently over a chocolate fountain to serve dessert fondue.
Chocolate Melanger

Chocolate liquor is blended with the cocoa butter in varying quantities to make different types of chocolate or couvertures. The basic blends of ingredients for the various types of chocolate (in order of highest quantity of cocoa liquor first), are as follows:

  • Dark chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, and (sometimes) vanilla
  • Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk or milk powder, and vanilla
  • White chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder, and vanilla

Usually, an emulsifying agent such as soy lecithin is added, though a few manufacturers prefer to exclude this ingredient for purity reasons and to remain GMO free, sometimes at the cost of a perfectly smooth texture. Some manufacturers are now using PGPR, an artificial emulsifier derived from castor oil that allows them to reduce the amount of cocoa butter while maintaining the same mouthfeel.

The texture is also heavily influenced by processing, specifically conching (see below). The more expensive chocolate tends to be processed longer and thus have a smoother texture and "feel" on the tongue, regardless of whether emulsifying agents are added.

Different manufacturers develop their own "signature" blends based on the above formulas, but varying proportions of the different constituents are used.

The finest, plain dark chocolate couvertures contain at least 70% cocoa (both solids and butter), whereas milk chocolate usually contains up to 50%. High-quality white chocolate couvertures contain only about 35% cocoa.

Producers of high quality, small batch chocolate argue that mass production produces bad quality chocolate.[35] Some mass-produced chocolate contains much less cocoa (as low as 7% in many cases) and fats other than cocoa butter. Vegetable oils and artificial vanilla flavor are often used in cheaper chocolate to mask poorly fermented and/or roasted beans.[35]

In 2007, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association in the United States, whose members include Hershey, Nestlé, and Archer Daniels Midland, lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to change the legal definition of chocolate to let them substitute partially hydrogenated vegetable oils for cocoa butter in addition to using artificial sweeteners and milk substitutes.[41] Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow a product to be referred to as "chocolate" if the product contains any of these ingredients.[42][43]


Various chocolate-making machinery

The penultimate process is called conching. A conche is a container filled with metal beads, which act as grinders. The refined and blended chocolate mass is kept in a liquid state by frictional heat. Chocolate prior to conching has an uneven and gritty texture. The conching process produces cocoa and sugar particles smaller than the tongue can detect, hence the smooth feel in the mouth. The length of the conching process determines the final smoothness and quality of the chocolate. High-quality chocolate is conched for about 72 hours, lesser grades about four to six hours. After the process is complete, the chocolate mass is stored in tanks heated to approximately 45–50 °C (113–122 °F) until final processing.[44]


The final process is called tempering. Uncontrolled crystallization of cocoa butter typically results in crystals of varying size, some or all large enough to be clearly seen with the naked eye. This causes the surface of the chocolate to appear mottled and matte, and causes the chocolate to crumble rather than snap when broken.[45] The uniform sheen and crisp bite of properly processed chocolate are the result of consistently small cocoa butter crystals produced by the tempering process.

The fats in cocoa butter can crystallize in six different forms (polymorphous crystallization).[45] The primary purpose of tempering is to assure that only the best form is present. The six different crystal forms have different properties.

Crystal Melting temp. Notes
I 17 °C (63 °F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
II 21 °C (70 °F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
III 26 °C (79 °F) Firm, poor snap, melts too easily.
IV 28 °C (82 °F) Firm, good snap, melts too easily.
V 34 °C (93 °F) Glossy, firm, best snap, melts near body temperature (37 °C).
VI 36 °C (97 °F) Hard, takes weeks to form.

Making chocolate considered "good" is about forming as many type V crystals as possible. This provides the best appearance and texture and creates the most stable crystals so the texture and appearance will not degrade over time. To accomplish this, the temperature is carefully manipulated during the crystallization.

Generally, the chocolate is first heated to 45 °C (113 °F) to melt all six forms of crystals.[45] Next, the chocolate is cooled to about 27 °C (81 °F), which will allow crystal types IV and V to form. At this temperature, the chocolate is agitated to create many small crystal "seeds" which will serve as nuclei to create small crystals in the chocolate. The chocolate is then heated to about 31 °C (88 °F) to eliminate any type IV crystals, leaving just type V. After this point, any excessive heating of the chocolate will destroy the temper and this process will have to be repeated. However, there are other methods of chocolate tempering used. The most common variant is introducing already tempered, solid "seed" chocolate. The temper of chocolate can be measured with a chocolate temper meter to ensure accuracy and consistency. A sample cup is filled with the chocolate and placed in the unit which then displays or prints the results.

Two classic ways of manually tempering chocolate are:

  • Working the molten chocolate on a heat-absorbing surface, such as a stone slab, until thickening indicates the presence of sufficient crystal "seeds"; the chocolate is then gently warmed to working temperature.
  • Stirring solid chocolate into molten chocolate to "inoculate" the liquid chocolate with crystals (this method uses the already formed crystal of the solid chocolate to "seed" the molten chocolate).

Chocolate tempering machines (or temperers) with computer controls can be used for producing consistently tempered chocolate, particularly for large volume applications.


Molten chocolate and a piece of a chocolate bar

Chocolate is very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Ideal storage temperatures are between 15 and 17 °C (59 and 63 °F), with a relative humidity of less than 50%. Chocolate is generally stored away from other foods as it can absorb different aromas. Ideally, chocolates are packed or wrapped, and placed in proper storage with the correct humidity and temperature. Additionally chocolate is frequently stored in a dark place or protected from light by wrapping paper. Various types of "blooming" effects can occur if chocolate is stored or served improperly. If refrigerated or frozen without containment, chocolate can absorb enough moisture to cause a whitish discoloration, the result of fat or sugar crystals rising to the surface. Moving chocolate from one temperature extreme to another, such as from a refrigerator on a hot day, can result in an oily texture. Although visually unappealing, chocolate suffering from bloom is perfectly safe for consumption.[46][47][48]


Overview of the main health effects attributed to chocolate.[49]

While chocolate is regularly eaten for pleasure, there are potential beneficial health effects of eating chocolate. Cocoa or dark chocolate benefits the circulatory system.[50] Other beneficial effects suggested include anticancer, brain stimulator, cough preventor and antidiarrhoeal effects.[51] An aphrodisiac effect is yet unproven.

On the other hand, the unconstrained consumption of large quantities of any energy-rich food such as chocolate is thought to increase the risk of obesity without a corresponding increase in activity. Raw chocolate is high in cocoa butter, a fat which is removed during chocolate refining, then added back in in varying proportions during the manufacturing process. Manufacturers may add other fats, sugars, and milk as well, all of which increase the caloric content of chocolate.

There is concern of mild lead poisoning for some types of chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to many animals because of insufficient capacity to metabolize theobromine.[2]

A study reported by the BBC indicated that melting chocolate in one's mouth produced an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than that associated with passionate kissing, and also lasted four times as long after the activity had ended.[52]

Circulatory benefits

Recent studies have suggested that cocoa or dark chocolate may possess certain beneficial effects on human health. This is mainly caused by a particular substance present in cocoa called epicatechin.[53] Cocoa possesses a significant antioxidant action, protecting against LDL oxidation, perhaps more than other polyphenol antioxidant-rich foods and beverages. Some studies have also observed a modest reduction in blood pressure and flow-mediated dilation after consuming dark chocolate daily.[54] Consuming milk chocolate or white chocolate, or drinking fat-containing milk with dark chocolate, appears largely to negate the health benefit.[55] Processed cocoa powder (so called Dutch chocolate), processed with alkali greatly reduces the antioxidant capacity as compared to "raw" cocoa powder. Processing cocoa with alkali destroys most of the flavonoids.[56]

One-third of the fat in chocolate comes in the forms of a saturated fat called stearic acid and a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. However, unlike other saturated fats, stearic acid does not raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.[57] Consuming relatively large amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa does not seem to raise serum LDL cholesterol levels; some studies even find that it could lower them.[58] Indeed, small but regular amounts of dark chocolate lower the possibility of a heart attack.[27]

A study performed at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and appearing the Journal of Internal Medicine (September 2009), found that survivors of heart attacks who ate chocolate at least two or three times a week reduced their risk of death by a factor of up to three times compared to survivors who did not eat chocolate. The benefits were specific to chocolate and not to other sweets.[59][60][61][62][63][64]


Romantic lore commonly identifies chocolate as an aphrodisiac. The reputed aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate are most often associated with the simple sensual pleasure of its consumption. Although there is no proof that chocolate is indeed an aphrodisiac, a gift of chocolate is a familiar courtship ritual.

Muscle recovery

A study from James Madison University, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, showed that post-exercise consumption of lowfat chocolate milk provides equal or possibly superior muscle recovery compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage with the same amount of calories. Athletes consuming chocolate milk had significantly lower levels of creatine kinase, an indicator of muscle damage, compared to drinkers of carbohydrate beverage. Sweating causes loss of fluid and also important minerals, including calcium, potassium and magnesium. The 2-hour window after exercise is an important, but often neglected opportunity to recover.[65]

Other benefits

Studies suggest a specially formulated type of cocoa may be nootropic and delay brain function decline as people age.[66]

Mars, Incorporated, a Virginia-based candy company, spends money each year on flavonol research.[67] The company is talking with pharmaceutical companies to license drugs based on synthesized cocoa flavonol molecules. According to Mars-funded researchers at Harvard, the University of California, and European universities, cocoa-based prescription drugs could potentially help treat diabetes, dementia and other diseases.[68]

Theobromine was found to be almost one third more effective than codeine, the leading cough medicine.[69]

Flavonoids can inhibit the development of diarrhea, suggesting antidiarrhoeal effects of cocoa.[70]

Obesity risk

The major concern that nutritionists have is that even though eating dark chocolate may not affect serum cholesterol, blood pressure or LDL oxidation, it is not known whether it affects certain biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the amount needed to have this effect would provide a relatively large quantity of calories, which, if unused, would promote weight gain. Obesity is a significant risk factor for many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. As a consequence, consuming large quantities of dark chocolate in an attempt to protect against cardiovascular disease has been described as 'cutting off one's nose to spite one's face'.[71]


Chocolate, ranging from dark to light, can be molded and decorated like these chickens with ribbons

There is a popular belief that the consumption of chocolate can cause acne. This belief is not supported by scientific studies.[72][73] Various studies point not to chocolate, but to the high glycemic nature of certain foods, like sugar, corn syrup, and other simple carbohydrates, as a cause of acne.[74][75][76][77] Chocolate itself has a low glycemic index.[78] Other dietary causes of acne cannot be excluded yet, but more rigorous research is required.[79]


Chocolate has one of the higher concentrations of lead among products that constitute a typical Westerner's diet, with a potential to cause mild lead poisoning. Recent studies have shown that although the beans themselves absorb little lead, it tends to bind to cocoa shells and contamination may occur during the manufacturing process. A recent peer-reviewed publication found significant amounts of lead in chocolate.[80] In a USDA study in 2004, mean lead levels in the samples tested ranged from 0.0010 to 0.0965 µg lead per gram of chocolate, but another study by a Swiss research group in 2002 found that some chocolate contained up to 0.769 µg per gram, close to the international (voluntary) standard limit for lead in cocoa powder or beans, which is 1 µg of lead per gram.[81] In 2006, the U.S. FDA lowered by one-fifth the amount of lead permissible in candy, but compliance is only voluntary.[82] While studies show that the lead consumed in chocolate may not all be absorbed by the human body, there is no known threshold for the effects of lead on children's brain function and even small quantities of lead can cause permanent neurodevelopmental deficits including impaired IQ.[83]

Toxicity in animals

In sufficient amounts, the theobromine found in chocolate is toxic to animals such as horses, dogs, parrots, small rodents, and cats because they are unable to metabolise the chemical effectively.[2] If they are fed chocolate, the theobromine will remain in their bloodstream for up to 20 hours, and these animals may experience epileptic seizures, heart attacks, internal bleeding, and eventually death. Medical treatment performed by a veterinarian involves inducing vomiting within two hours of ingestion and administration of benzodiazepines or barbiturates for seizures, antiarrhythmics for heart arrhythmias, and fluid diuresis.

A typical 20-kilogram (44 lb) dog will normally experience great intestinal distress after eating less than 240 grams (8.5 oz) of dark chocolate, but will not necessarily experience bradycardia or tachycardia unless it eats at least a half a kilogram (1.1 lb) of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has 2 to 5 times more theobromine and thus is more dangerous to dogs. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, approximately 1.3 grams of baker's chocolate per kilogram of a dog's body weight (0.02 oz/lb) is sufficient to cause symptoms of toxicity. For example, a typical 25-gram (0.88 oz) baker's chocolate bar would be enough to bring about symptoms in a 20-kilogram (44 lb) dog. Of course, baking chocolate is rarely consumed directly due to its unpleasant taste, but other dark chocolates' canine toxicities may be extrapolated based on this figure. As dogs like the taste of chocolate products as much as humans do[citation needed], and are capable of finding and eating quantities much larger than typical human servings, they should be kept out of their reach. There are reports that mulch made from cacao bean shells is dangerous to dogs and livestock.[84][85][86]

As a stimulant

Molten Chocolate
A chocolate sweet.
A model of the Reichstag made of chocolate at a Berlin shop

Chocolate contains a variety of substances, some of which have an effect on body chemistry. These include:

Chocolate is a mild stimulant to humans mainly due to the presence of theobromine.[94] It is much more potent for horses, and its use in horse racing is prohibited.

White chocolate contains only trace amounts of the caffeine and theobromine of normal chocolates, because these chemicals are contained in the cocoa solids, not the cocoa butter, from which white chocolate is made.


Some manufacturers provide the percentage of chocolate in a finished chocolate confection as a label quoting percentage of "cocoa" or "cacao". It should be noted that this refers to the combined percentage of both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in the bar, not just the percentage of cocoa solids.[95]

Chocolates that are organic[96] or fair trade certified[97] carry labels accordingly.

In the United States, some large chocolate manufacturers lobbied the federal government to permit confection containing cheaper hydrogenated vegetable oil in place of cocoa butter to be sold as "chocolate". In June 2007, as a response to consumer concern after the proposed change, the FDA re-iterated that "Cacao fat, as one of the signature characteristics of the product, will remain a principal component of standardized chocolate"[98]


Many chocolate manufacturers have created products from chocolate bars to fudge, hoping to attract more consumers with each creation. Both The Hershey Company and Mars have become the largest manufacturers in the world. Other significant players include Cadbury, Nestlé, Kraft Foods and Lindt.

The Hershey Company, known for their Hershey bar, Hershey's kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, is the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America.[99] Mars, Incorporated, one of the largest privately owned U.S. corporations, is a worldwide manufacturer of confectionery and other food products with US$21 billion in annual sales in 2006. Mars is most famous for its eponymous Mars Bar, as well as other confectionery such as Milky Way, M&M's, Twix, Skittles and Snickers.

British-based Cadbury plc is the world's largest confectionery manufacturer.[100] It is well known for its Dairy Milk range and Creme Egg; Fry's, Trebor Basset, the fair-trade brand Green & Black's also belong to the group.

Food conglomerates Nestlé SA and Kraft Foods both have chocolate brands. Nestlé acquired Rowntree's in 1988 and now market chocolates under their own brand, including Smarties and Kit Kat; Kraft Foods through its 1990 acquisition of Jacobs Suchard, now own Milka, Suchard and Cadbury.

Child labor in the chocolate industry

The chocolate industry is a steadily-growing, $50 billion dollar-a-year worldwide business centered around the sale and consumption of chocolate. This industry is prevalent on five out of seven continents.[101] Big Chocolate, as it is also called, is essentially an oligopoly between major international chocolate companies in Europe and the U.S. These U.S. companies such as Mars and Hershey’s alone generate $13 billion a year in chocolate sales and account for two thirds of U.S. manufacturers.[102] However, Europe accounts for 45% of the worlds chocolate revenue.[103]

Chocolate slavery today is widespread in West African countries such as Mali, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria.[104] 90% of the chocolate labor force is young children either kidnapped from their home lands, or sold into slavery.[104] In Mali, children are bought and sold for $30 in U.S. currency from poor areas.[104] Most of the time, poor parents from slums sell their own sons and daughters into slavery to make a quick profit and to decrease the number of mouths to feed.[citation needed]

In popular culture

Cadbury Creme Eggs are fondant-filled chocolate eggs.


Chocolate is one of the most popular of gifts. On Valentine's Day, a box of chocolate is traditional, usually with flowers and a greeting card. It may be gifted on other holidays, including Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and birthdays. At Easter, chocolate eggs are traditional. This is a confectionery made primarily of chocolate, and can either be solid, hollow, or filled with other sweets or fondant.

Books and film

Chocolate has been the center of several successful book and film adaptations. In 1964, Roald Dahl published a children's novel titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The novel centers around a poor boy named Charlie Bucket who takes a tour through the greatest chocolate factory in the world, owned by Willy Wonka. Two film adaptations of the novel were produced. The first was Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, a 1971 film which later became a cult classic. Thirty-four years later, a second film adaptation was produced, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The 2005 film was very well received by critics[105] and was one of the highest grossing films of its year, earning over US$470,000,000 worldwide.[106] Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was also recognized at the 78th Academy Awards, where it was nominated for Best Costume Design for Gabriella Pesucci.[107]

Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate) is a 1989 love story by novelist Laura Esquivel that was adapted to film in 1992. The plot incorporates magical realism with Mexican cuisine and the title is a double entendre in its native language, referring both to a recipe for hot chocolate and to an idiom that is a metaphor for sexual arousal. The film earned 11 Ariel Awards from the Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas including Best Picture.

Chocolat is a 1999 novel by Joanne Harris. It tells the story of Vianne Rocher, a young mother, whose confections change the lives of the townspeople. The 2000 film adaptation, Chocolat, also proved successful, grossing over US$150,000,000 worldwide,[108] and receiving Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Original Score.[109][110]


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  • Coe, Sophie D.; Michael D. Coe (2000). The True History of Chocolate. Thames & Hudson. 

Further reading

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Chocolate describes a number of raw and processed foods that originate from the tropical cacao tree. It is a common ingredient in many kinds of sweets, chocolate candy, ice creams, cookies, cakes, pies, and desserts. It is one of the most popular flavours in the world.


  • Chocolate is a psychoactive food. It is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, Theobroma cacao. The cacao tree was named by the 17th century Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus. The Greek term theobroma means literally food of the gods. Chocolate has also been called the food of the devil; but the theological basis of this claim is obscure.
  • Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.
  • Well, folks, it looks like we're up chocolate creek without a popsicle stick.
  • Love, biochemically no different than consuming large quantities of chocolate.
  • Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get; your life, however, is like a box of active grenades!


  • What's with this weird hotel custom of leaving a piece of chocolate on the pillow? I awoke thinking my brain had hemorrhaged some sort of fecal matter.
  • The Kit Kat candy bar has the name 'Kit Kat' imprinted in the chocolate. That robs you of chocolate! Kit Kat has come up with a clever chocolate saving-technique. I'm gonna go down to the Kit Kat factory, and say 'Hey, you owe me some letters.'
  • King Henry Drinks Much Dark Chocolate Milk.
    • Mnemonic for the metric system

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up chocolate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHOCOLATE, a paste of the ground kernels of the cocoa bean, mixed with sugar, vanilla or other flavouring, made into a cake, which is used for the manufacture of various forms of sweetmeat, or in making the beverage, also known as "chocolate," obtained by dissolving cakes of chocolate in boiling water or milk (see CocoA). The word came into Eng. through the Fr. chocolat or Span. chocolate from the Mex. chocolatl. According to the New English Dictionary (quoting R. Simeon, Did. de la langue Nahuatl), this was "an article of food made of ... the seeds of cacao and of the tree pochotl (Bombax ceiba)," and was etymologically distinct from the Mexican cacauatl, cacao, or cocoa.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to chocolate article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

WOTD - 23 December 2006    



chocolate (confectionery)


Often said to come from Nahuatl xocolātl (e.g. American Heritage Dictionary 2000) or chocolatl (e.g. 2006), which would be derived from xococ, bitter, and ātl, water, (with an irregular change of x to ch). However, the form xocolatl is not directly attested, and chocolatl does not appear in Nahuatl until the mid-18th century. Dakin and Wichmann (2000) propose that the chocol- element refers to a special wooden stick used to prepare chocolate, and suggest the correct etymology to be chicolātl, a word found in several modern Nahuatl dialects.

In any case, the word chocolate reached English via Spanish.


  • (Aus): IPA: /ˈtʃɒklət/, /ˈtʃɒkələt/; SAMPA: /"tSQkl@t/, /"tSQk@l@t/
  • (UK): IPA: /ˈtʃɒklɪt/, /ˈtʃɒkəlɪt/; SAMPA: /"tSQklIt/, /"tSQk@lIt/
     Audio (UK)help, file
  • (US, CA): IPA: /ˈtʃɑklət/, /ˈtʃɑkələt/, SAMPA: /"tSAkl@t/, /"tSAk@l@t/
     Audio (CA)help, file
     Audio (US)help, file



countable and uncountable; plural chocolates

chocolate (countable and uncountable; plural chocolates)

  1. (uncountable) A food made from ground roasted cocoa beans.
    Chocolate is a very popular treat.
  2. (countable) A single, small piece of confectionery made from chocolate.
    He bought her some chocolates as a gift.
  3. (uncountable, color/colour) A dark, reddish-brown colour/color, like that of chocolate.
    As he cooked it the whole thing turned a rich deep chocolate.
    chocolate colour:    

Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


chocolate (not comparable)


not comparable

none (absolute)

  1. Made of or containing chocolate.
  2. (color/colour) Having a dark reddish-brown colour/color.

Derived terms

See Derived terms for the noun


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also


  • "chocolate." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 17 Nov. 2006. <>
  • "chocolate." Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. 17 Nov. 2006. <>
  • Dakin, Karen; Wichmann, Søren. (2000) ‘Cacao and Chocolate: An Uto-Aztec perspective’. Ancient Mesoamerica, vol. 11, pp.55–75.
  • Karttunen, Frances. (1983) An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl. University of Texas Press, p. 54.

External links



chocolate f.

  1. Feminine of chocolat.



chocolate m. (plural chocolates)

  1. chocolate





chocolate (plural chocolates)

  1. chocolate



  • IPA: /ʃokoˈlaʧi/


chocolate m. (plural chocolates)

  1. chocolate



Possibly from Nahuatl xocoatl, though the etymology is unclear.



chocolate m. (plural chocolates)

chocolate m.

chocolates m.

  1. chocolate (food made from cocoa beans; confectionery)
  2. (slang) hash

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|White, milk, and dark chocolate candies]] Chocolate is a food made from the seeds of a cacao tree. It is used in many desserts like pudding, cakes, candy, and ice cream. It can be a solid form like a candy bar or it can be in a liquid form like hot chocolate. The taste of chocolate is often described as sweet because chocolate makers usually add a lot of sugar and milk for taste.


Types of chocolate

There are three main kinds of chocolate: white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. White chocolate tastes much sweeter than the other two types, because it has more of the sweeter ingredients in it. White chocolate does not have any cocoa in it. It is mostly made of cocoa butter. Milk chocolate is sweet, but not as sweet as white chocolate. Milk chocolate has some cocoa. Dark chocolate is the least sweet and has the strongest chocolate flavor. Dark chocolate has up to 80-85 percent cocoa (which is really bitter).


Chocolate is safe to eat unless it is eaten in large amounts. Some people eat it every day. Some animals, like dogs, cannot eat chocolate because it makes them sick. People with diabetes can also get sick from eating chocolate. Dark chocolate contains ingredients that lower blood pressure and fight disease. Small amounts of dark chocolate have been found to lower the risk of heart disease.[1]

Making chocolate

Making chocolate is a process that has many steps. First, the cacao beans are collected and put in piles or containers to make them ferment. Fermentation makes the sugar in the beans turn into alcohol. Then the beans are dried and cleaned. Chocolate makers must cook the beans, and then crush them to make the cocoa butter and the chocolate liquor come out of them. Then the chocolate maker mixes different ingredients together to make the different kinds of chocolate. Dark or bittersweet chocolate is made from sugar, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor. Milk chocolate uses all of those ingredients plus milk and vanilla. White chocolate does not contain chocolate liquor, but only cocoa butter, along with sugar, milk and vanilla. After these ingredients are put together, the chocolate maker is still not finished. One of the last things to be done is something called conching. Before chocolate is conched, it feels very rough in the mouth, instead of smooth. Conching means crushing the chocolate very finely and keeping it warm so that it is liquid. Conching for several hours makes good chocolate. The last step in making chocolate is called tempering. The chocolate is heated, and then shaken, and then cooled a few times.


There are a number of active ingredients in chocolate. The most notable of these are caffeine and theobromine. These two chemicals are closely related and are found in all cocoa beans. In any bean, the amount of each chemical varies depending on the genetics of the tree and the stresses placed on the tree during the growing season.

History of chocolate

The cacao tree was first found to be useful for its seeds about two thousand years ago. Early Central Americans and Mexicans used the seeds from the cacao tree to make a drink that tasted bitter, not sweet. Only the important people could drink it. The common, average people could not. The word for "chocolate" in almost every language comes from its name in the Nahuatl language of Mexico, chocolatl.

Later on, this drink was made sweeter and made into the treat that is known today as hot chocolate. It was made popular by Spanish explorers who brought it from North America to Spain.[2] When chocolate was sweetened and made into candy, it became a very popular treat for many Europeans. At first, only the rich could afford chocolate. Now, many people enjoy it. Cacao trees grow in the tropics,[3] and most cocoa today is made in Africa. Some is made in India.


  1. Sangam, Radhika (6 January 2010). "2010 calendar: A year of healthy living". India Today (India Today group). Retrieved 2 February 2010. "A study by Dr Romina di Giuseppe and colleagues from the Catholic University, Italy, reveals that eating up to 20gm (two small squares) of dark chocolate every three days lowers the risk of heart disease by one-third in women and one-fourth in men." 
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