We all know we love chocolate, but what else is there to know about this deliciously decadent sweet? As it turns out, plenty! Learn some new facts about chocolate and what makes Japanese chocolates so unique.
1. Chocolate is the “food of the gods”
Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, taxonomically called Theobroma cacao. “Cacao” is derived from the native names of the plant in indigenous Mesoamerican languages, and “Theobroma” is Greek, meaning “food of the gods.” You might recognize “cacao” from our Nama Chocolate “Mild Cacao” ($18).
2. White chocolate is chocolate
You may have heard that white chocolate “technically” isn’t chocolate, but it comes from the cacao tree and contains all the same ingredients as milk chocolate except chocolate liquor. That makes it chocolate in our books!
3. America loves chocolate
The US accounts for 20% of the world’s chocolate consumption. It is the world leader at 20.96% of the net cocoa imports.
4. Hot chocolate was the first chocolate confection
Not the hot chocolate we know and love, though. In early Mexican and Aztec cultures, cacao was brewed into a bitter ceremonial drink.
5. Most cocoa is produced in Africa rather than South America
Though originating from the Amazon, Africa exports most of the world’s cocoa—over 70% of it! Despite that, Africa as a whole only consumes 3.28% of the annual cocoa production.
6. Almonds and chocolate belong together
Approximately 40% of almonds produced in the world are made for chocolate products! If you’ve ever tried our Chocolate Bar Almond ($9), you know exactly why that percentage is so high.
7. Chocolate is relatively new to Japan
You don’t need to tell us that Japan loves chocolate! Shockingly, though, chocolate production only started in Japan in the 1920s, despite being introduced in the early 1700’s. Before then, it was mostly used as a natural medicine.
8. On Valentine’s Day, Japanese women give chocolate to men
In Japan, women will give chocolate to not only their loved ones, but also male colleagues. The tradition has expanded recently so that now women also give chocolate gifts to their female friends, and sometimes they buy it as a gift for themselves! (It won’t surprise you that our Nama Chocolate can be popular gifts for that time of the year.)
9. June 16th is Confectionery Day in Japan
This past month, Japan celebrated a sweets-centric holiday! On this day, it is traditionally believed that eating sweets is good for your health, and it must be twice as good to eat chocolate, since it already has a number of health benefits!
10. Japan gets creative with their chocolate
One of the most popular innovations Japan has made to chocolate is the creation of matcha green tea chocolate, but they’ve invented a mind-boggling number of chocolate flavor varieties beyond that! Japan certainly doesn’t shy away from using chocolate in unconventional ways either; in one game show Tokio vs. Arashi Ultraman Dash, a popular segment involves contestants searching a room where some of its items are chocolate in disguise, but they can only identify the chocolate with their mouths. Needless to say, many contestants find themselves biting into a regular table or shoe before they bite into artisan-crafted chocolate.
Want to learn more about chocolate and see more of #HowJapanDoesChocolate? Visit a ROYCE’ Chocolate boutique near you or order any of our unique confections online!