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Happy Chocolate Day

February 9, 2012 by staff 

Happy Chocolate Day, Every Feb. 9 marks that special day when chocoholics across the nation united to celebrate their love of that tasty cocoa treat.

Chocolate is the widely favored candy treat adored by fans for almost 200 years. Even health nuts can appreciate the benefits chocolate offers. Researchers suggest that chocolate in moderation is healthy for the heart and could reduce high blood-pressure. It also contains theobromine, which is a mood enhancing substance that triggers the release of endorphins.

But where does chocolate even come from? The Mayans harvested cocoa bean from rain forests and worshiped the intoxicating substance as an idol. The Aztecs also held the bean in high regard, using it for currency. They also used it to create a luxury drink. Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover cocoa during his fourth voyage to the New World. He returned to Europe with the beans, but they were overlooked for other treasures.

The Europeans would sweeten and fatten the foodstuffs made from the cocoa beans, adding sugar and milk. These ingredients were unknown to the South Americans. The Europeans did not add cocoa to their everyday diet, but used it only as a fancy dessert.

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