July 7 is World Chocolate Day in the UK - all around the country, people who love chocolate are celebrating by eating and sharing their favorite chocolate treats with their friends and family.
So why don’t we all take a cocoa leaf out of their book and sit back and enjoy these fun facts in homage to World chocolate day...
Did you know?
Chocolate has been around for thousands of years – the ancient Mayans and Aztecs used to drink chocolate, and they believed it had mystical qualities to it. Only the rich and powerful of society could afford to have a taste.
Spanish explorers later brought chocolate to Europe where they sweetened the drink with cane sugar and cinnamon. Once again, only wealthy Spaniards could get their hands on chocolate, which was a lot rarer and more expensive to import into the country than it is today.
Everything changed in 1828 when a Dutch chemist called Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the cocoa press. This made it much cheaper to produce, which meant that lots more people could afford to buy and eat chocolate.
A British company called J.S Fry and Sons created the world’s first chocolate bar in 1847, and the conching machine (which helped to produce chocolate with a velvety texture and nicer taste) was later invented by Rodolphe Lindt (of the famous Lindt chocolate brand!) in 1879.
In 2014 alone, people in Britain spent more than £3.5 billion a year on chocolate! That’s a lot of money!
Did you know?
That Britain’s first gourmet chocolate restaurant opened in London in 2013 – “Rabot 1745” covers all food in chocolate, even its vegetables.
Of course, eating it is not the only use for chocolate. Some weird and wonderful people have found some very creative things to do with the tasty treat. For example, a man named Andrew Farrugia made the longest chocolate sculpture for Brussels Chocolate Week 2012, at 34.05m (or 111 ft 8 in) of a train!