Chocolate, the most popular type and flavor of foods | agriculture commodities - commodity prices - food sciences | Chocolate is a raw food or products made from the seed of the tropical tree Theobroma cacao. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America, with its first documented use around 1100 BC. Most Meso-american people used chocolate as a drinks , including the Aztecs, who made a drink called Xocolatl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop flavor.
After fermentation, the cacao beans are dried, cleaned, and then roasted, and the bark/shell is removed to produce the nibs of cocoa. The coocoa nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, raw chocolate in rough form. Since this is usually the cocoa mass is liquefied, then molded with or without other ingredients, it's called chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor can be produced to two products: the cocoa butter and cocoa solid. No sweet baking chocolate (bitter chocolate), contains primarily cocoa solid and cocoa butter in varying proportions. The large chocolate consumed today in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa butter or other fats, cocoa solid and sugars. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate also contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar and milk but no cocoa solids.
The cocoa solid contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine which have physiological effects on the body. This is relating to serotonin in the brain. In some studies it was found that chocolate, eaten in moderate, can lower blood pressure. The presence of theobromine makes chocolate toxic to some animals, especially dogs and cats.
Chocolate has become one of the types of the most popular foods and flavors of the world. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, chocolate coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other symbols of the Christmas holidays, and heart chocolate or chocolate heart-shaped boxes of Valentine's Day. Chocolate is also used in hot and cold beverages, to produce chocolate milk and hot chocolate. About three-quarters of world production of cocoa beans takes place in West Africa. @agriculture commodities