Quick Facts: Chocolate

• Chocolate comes from the cacao (kah-KOH) tree, which was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. The pods of the tree contain seeds that are processed to make chocolate.

• The ancient cultures of Central America first mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make cacahuatt, a spicy, frothy drink. Spanish conquistadors brought this recipe back to their home country, prompting the drink’s spread across Europe.

• Throughout the centuries, cultures have used cacao seeds as sacred symbols in religious ceremonies, as well as in medicinal remedies.

• Innovative machines in the mid-1800s made it possible to mass-produce solid chocolate candy.

• The caffeine in one ounce of milk chocolate is about as little as that found in one cup of decaffeinated coffee.