All about chocolate

Chocolate

Chocolate, a food rich with 3000 years of history

Cocoa has been cultivated for over three thousand years in Central and South America. Cocoa bean was sometimes used in drink, sometimes in currency exchange, or in ritual ceremonies. But it was not until 1519 that Europeans discovered the fabulous drink consumed by the Aztecs. Although the cocoa tree was native to the Americas, it was introduced to Africa by the Spanish and the Portuguese in the XVI century. It acclimatized so well that Africa is now the first world producer of cocoa! Chocolate quickly conquered the world and a whole chocolate industry developed.

Le cacao dans le monde

Cocoa worldwide

Today, the major cocoa producing countries are Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria. Some producing countries, such as Peru, specializing in high-quality cocoa, organic and fair-trade. Since the early twentieth century, the world cocoa production has been multiplied by 20, and still they can barely meet the demand!

Fermented and dried cocoa beans are mainly shipped in the industrialized countries that will transform it in chocolate. 80% of world cocoa production is consumed in Europe and the United States. In Quebec, cocoa products are amazingly the 2nd most exported food after pork products. In 2014, the province exported $ 760 million worth of cocoa products, mainly to the United States! This is nearly three times the value of exports of maple products.

Le cacao dans le monde

Processing

Cocoa beans undergo many transformations before reaching the display of the shop. In their home country, the pods are first picked and emptied by hand. The collected beans are fermented and dried in the sun. Arrived here, they will be cleaned, roasted, stripped of their shells then finely ground. The resulting paste then undergoes the conching stage during which the chocolate is softly heated, mixed and ground for hours, which will make it creamy and tasty. From there, it will still have to undergo some transformations under the expert hand of the chocolatier to take the form of the sublime product you will eat!

Le saviez-vous…

Did you know…

Although chocolate is a calorific food, 60 grams of dark chocolate of 65% cocoa provide 4.8 grams of protein, 6.6 grams of fiber, 56% RDI* of iron, 40% RDI* of magnesium and 13% RDI* of calcium. This therefore gives it nutritional value still very interesting! In addition, its polyphenols and tannins make it an excellent antioxidant food.

The 40 cocoa beans contained in a pod used to manufacture only 50 grams of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) or 90 grams of milk chocolate. Each pods, measuring between 10 and 30 cm. Try to imagine the amount of pods needed annually to supply a chocolate factory!

In Canada, we consume nearly 3 kg of chocolate per capita per year. This is Switzerland, which won the place with a consumption of over 10 kg of chocolate per person per year!

*RDI : Recommended Daily Intake