You probably eat chocolate regularly. You may even consider yourself a chocolate connoisseur. Even so, there’s probably a lot you still have to learn about this amazing food. With that in mind, here are three fun facts you (probably) didn’t know about chocolate.

The UK fought a 30-year court battle over chocolate

Back in 1973, the UK signed up for the EEC. This had significant differences to its descendent the EU. One of the basic principles was, however, essentially the same. Member countries operated as a free and open market. This means that British chocolate companies such as Cadburys should have been able to sell their products unrestricted into EEC countries.

Spain and Italy, however, saw the matter differently. These countries had a tradition of making chocolate with 100% cocoa butter. They believed that adding milk and vegetable fat to chocolate was a contradiction in terms. As a result, they banned British companies from selling such products as chocolate, insisting that they had to be called “chocolate substitute”.

It took until 2003 for the ECJ to rule in favour of the UK (by which point the EEC was the EU). It ruled that products meeting a minimum content of cocoa and cocoa butter were legally chocolate regardless of what else was added. In the UK, chocolate must contain not less than 18% cocoa butter and not less than 14% of dry non-fat cocoa solids

There was, however, a slight catch to this. Standard UK milk chocolate, which contains 20% milk, has to be labelled “family milk chocolate” in the EU. If it has more than 5% vegetable fats, it also has to indicate this on the label.

Dark chocolate is conquering the market

Rather ironically, the UK’s eventual legal win coincided with milk chocolate’s downward slide in popularity. It’s still the most popular form of chocolate in the UK. That crown is, however, clearly up for contention and the strongest contender is dark chocolate. White chocolate bars are now very hard to find. These days the main use for white chocolate is in decoration.

There are three main factors influencing the rise and rise of dark chocolate. Firstly, there’s the internet. This has allowed niche chocolate companies to punch well above their weight in terms of consumer recognition. In some cases, this has allowed them to grow into major brands. Secondly, there’s the rise of veganism. Thirdly, there is growing concern about sugar.

Chocolate really does have health benefits

When people talk about the health benefits of chocolate, they really mean the health benefits of dark chocolate. This is because the health benefits of chocolate stem from the cocoa content. The health issues surrounding chocolate stem from the sugar content. Dark chocolate contains the most cocoa and the least sugar. This alone makes it the healthiest option.

Dark chocolate has a number of purported health benefits and at least a couple of them are backed by science. It really does contain a lot of minerals including manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.

Furthermore, dark chocolate also has an excellent fat profile. Its main fatty acids are oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid. Last but definitely not least, dark chocolate is also known to be packed with antioxidants especially polyphenols, flavanols and catechins.

More subjectively, many people see chocolate as a comfort food. In fact, it may be the ultimate comfort food, particularly in cold weather. Enjoying a hot chocolate on a cold day can warm the heart as well as the body. Sharing the experience with family and/or friends can be very social and hence be an emotional bright spot in the darkness of winter.

Author Bio

Adele Thomas is the owner of Distinctive Confectionery; a corporate confectionery company that’s been supplying businesses with high quality personalised and promotional confectionery for over 20 years.