Chocolate candy must be the most popular sort of candy in the world. It definitely is in Europe and America. We eat tons and tons of Mars, Cadburys, Lindt and Nestle chocolate candy every year. The sad thing is that most of the people who admit to liking chocolate have never tasted a proper bar of chocolate in their lives.
To a connoisseur, chocolate candy can come from anywhere in the world although Belgium, Switzerland and France are the countries, whose names come to mind first. Regardless of that, good chocolate candy is also manufactured in Great Britain, Spain, the USA and some parts of Latin America.
This is not unanticipated as chocolate first made its debut among the Mayans of Central America in at least 300 BC and maybe even as far back as 3000 BC. In 300 AD it was a special drink reserved for royalty and was very bitter. It was so special that it had to be drunk from a golden chalice and that chalice could be used for that intention only once.
In those days, many more herbs and spices were added to the royal drink called xocoatl. It was also a lot purer in terms of cacao content than practically anything you can buy on the shelves in the supermarket today as well. The nearest we have to that purity is gourmet chocolate.
Gourmet chocolate will normally have been manufactured by a chocolatier, which is similar to what a chef is to cuisine. These manufacturers of chocolate candy are the best in the world, highly trained and head-hunted by the best chocolate makers. They can command large salaries and become world famous among the aficionados of fine chocolate candy.
Fine chocolate candy should have a high chocolate content. That sounds as if it should go without saying, doesn't it? However, to be called chocolate in the US, candy only has to contain 15% authentic chocolate and 'bakers' chocolate' frequently does not have any at all. In Europe that figure is 35%, which is why most Americans think that European chocolate candy is sumptuous.
Good chocolate candy should break cleanly with an audible 'snap' and should have a shiny surface. The chocolate candy most liable to have a high cacao content is dark chocolate, which is also often slightly bitter, evocative of the actual taste of cacao before most manufacturers put sugar into the mixture. Purer chocolate candy also melts on the tongue and produces a mild feeling of well-being.
Purer forms of chocolate candy have had various reputations over the centuries. It has the reputation of being a pick-me-up and had the reputation of being an aphrodisiac, in all probability for the same reason. This is due to a chemical naturally present in the bean called Theobromine. Theobromine has effects on other animals as well. For instance, it is a proscribed substance for racing horse because it has an huge effect on horses and chocolate should never be given to cats or dogs because it is poisonous to them.
Theobromine and another chemical present, phenethylamine, have been associated with the production of seratonin, which is stimulated by prescribed drugs to fend off depression.
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