CHOCOLATE!!!  What more needs to be said?  Read on to find out…  :)))))))

Another favorite time for me is Easter morning – and memories of my girls hunting for their  easter baskets, filled with Resses’s Easter eggs, jellybeans, and of course yummy chocolates. Our rules were simple, you had to find your basket, if you found someone else’s nothing could be said.  Occasionally one of them would not be able to find their basket before church,  it goes without saying that they were not happy during mass. Over the years Jackie and I had to get very creative in hiding the baskets which I think was half the fun!  With Easter around the corner, and for many of you who gave up chocolate for Lent, I thought I’d share with you some chocolate trivia you can consume and share with the family.  It’s no surprise that chocolate has been around for some time … in an article published by The University of British Columbia, a study uncovered evidence of cocoa’s domestication between 5,300 and 2,100 years ago. It’s no surprise that cocoa and chocolate have been delighting consumers for some time.  So, here is some fun music to click on, and fun facts to enjoy.  Thanks to wired.com, The Natural History Museum of Utah, thechocolatewebsite.com, Google, Wikipedia, forbes.com, theguardian.com, and YouTube for the info and links.

Music link

Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, which is native to Central and South America.

The fruit of the cacao tree is a melon-shaped pod that grows directly from the tree’s trunk or limbs. The pods begin as small flowers, which are pollinated by a tiny midge (rather than a bee). Successfully pollinated flowers bear fruit, and that fruit becomes the cacao pod. There are anywhere from 20 to 50 cream-colored seeds (called beans) inside each pod. The seeds, each roughly the size of an olive, are surrounded by a milky-white pulp.  As pods ripen, they turn varying shades of orange, yellow, and red.

Although cacao originated in Central and South America thousands of years ago, over 66% of the entire world’s cacao is grown in Africa. Côte d’Ivoire alone produces over 33% of the world’s supply of chocolate. 90% of the world’s cacao is grown on small family-run farms, no larger than 12 acres. . Typically, there are two annual harvests.  Cacao trees can live to be 200 years old, but they produce marketable cocoa beans for only 25 years.

The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec word “xocolatl,” which means “bitter water.”

and the name for the cacao plant, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.” Jackie would absolutely agree with this!  . As early as 1900 B.C., a prehistoric culture called the Mokaya were processing and consuming a liquid that seems to have been chocolate.

Over the following millennium, chocolate became an important drink in Mesoamerica. It was used in rituals like burials, weddings, and baptisms by the cultures that followed: the Olmecs, the Mayans, and the Aztecs. It was so valued that it was used in place of money by the Mayans and Aztecs. According to a 16th-century Aztec document, one cacao bean could be traded for a tamale and 100 could be traded for a turkey hen.

Chocolate was originally consumed as a bitter beverage, and it wasn’t until the 16th century that sugar was added to make it sweeter.

But before chocolate became the sweet worldwide phenomenon we know today, Mesoamerican cultures made bitter drinks with the cacao bean. Some of these drinks were made of the fermented pulp around the beans, and their drinking chocolate was made from the ground cacao bean, water, and flavorings like corn, chilies, honey, vanilla, and agave syrup.

Cacao only grows in certain climates.

Chocolate emerged as a product of Mesoamerica, although cacao is native to South America, specifically the Amazonian basin. While we think of vigorous vegetation when we consider Amazonian rainforests, it turns out that cacao is a finicky plant to grow. In fact, cacao only grows within 20 degrees latitude (north and south) of the equator. The trees need light, but not too intense UV light. They need humidity and moisture, generally 40-100 inches of rain per year. And they need constant, warm-to-hot temperatures all year long (60-90 degrees Fahrenheit). The pollinator for this tree is also a very small midge that only thrives in a very humid and moist environment.

White chocolate is not actually chocolate at all, as it contains no cocoa solids.

White chocolate is a confectionery typically made of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter, but no cocoa solids. It is pale ivory in color,

In 1937, the white chocolate Galak was launched in Europe by the Swiss company Nestlé. From about 1948 until the 1990s, Nestlé produced a white chocolate bar with almond pieces, Alpine White, for markets in the US and Canada.  Hershey began mass production of white Hershey’s Kisses in the 1990s, a product that diversified during the early 21st century to include a chocolate white-dark swirl Kiss called the Hug.

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed over 12,000 pounds and was made in Italy in 2010.

The largest chocolate bar weighed 12,770 lb 4.48 oz and was created by Thorntons PLC in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK on October 7, 2011. The chocolate bar measured 13 ft 1.48 in by 4.0 13 ft 1.48 in by 1 ft 1.78 in. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/12/chocolate-world-record-broken-by-thorntons

Chocolate has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

One fact is clear for chocolate: the purer and darker the chocolate, the greater your health benefits.. Dark chocolate has anywhere from 50 to 90 percent cocoa solids, while milk chocolate is typically 10 to 30 percent. To get noticeable health benefits from chocolate, you need to eat more of the cocoa solids found in dark chocolate. Cocoa solids contain minerals and antioxidants;. Dark chocolate is especially rich in flavanols like epicatechin and catechin, as well as anthocyanins and phenolic acids. All of these compounds help protect your cells from inflammation, improve your brain function, and boost your immune and cardiovascular health. Dark chocolate can also give you cardiovascular support.

The antioxidants in dark chocolate help to lower bad cholesterol levels and prevent plaque on artery walls, while the flavanols in chocolate are good for lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow. Eating dark chocolate in moderation can lower your chances of heart disease and also ease lower inflammation in the body. Plus, theobromine (mentioned earlier), a compound in dark chocolate, has similar effects to caffeine for boosting energy and overall morale. It helps to enhance mood and make you more alert. All said, I’ll have another bite!

The Swiss consume more chocolate per capita than any other country in the world.

The Swiss are the leaders in per capita consumption, weighing in at 19.8 lbs per person, with Germany second, Ireland third and UK fourth. The US is ninth, at 9.5lbs – equal to about 2.8 billion pounds per year. That said, I’ll do my best to help us move up in the rankings.


May you enjoy a blessed Easter, and rejoice in HIS glory.




Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


Simply Delicious

There’s nothing wrong with chocolate. Absolutely nothing. It smells good. Looks good. Tastes good. It can be made into endless shapes and will bring smiles to the faces of those who partake. And now real chocolate fans can even wear it. Like that yummy chocolate cake dripping with chocolate t-shirt eight rows down. BUY HERE. And that cool red m&m’s face t-shirt next to it. BUY HERE. Or that awesome m&m’s t-shirt on the next line. BUY HERE. And my geeky chocolate loving friends might like the chocolate molecule shirt. BUY HERE. I might buy this chocolate chip cookie mouse pad but I’m afraid of putting on 10 pounds just looking at it. BUY HERE.  And there’s nothing like hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day in a Kowalski mug that you could win—see details at the end of this email. I do like m&m’s, which might be the greatest invention of all time. I’m especially partial to the red ones.  :)))

First off, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.  Like most holidays that involve food, fun and good tidings, VD is at the top of my list – (until St. Patty’s Day rolls around).  It’s such a nice tradition, started back in the year 496 – a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime.  For me, spending time with Jackie and sending love to my girls, son’s in law, and granddaughter,  is the best.  Of course, Valentines Day is not so much without CHOCOLATE!  Milk, dark, white, bars, kisses, syrup, ice cream, cake – all good. Below is a little history, fun facts and trivia you’re sure to delight your loved ones.  Enjoy, and thanks to Google and factretriever.com for the info.

The first people to harvest chocolate were the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec peoples who lived in southeast Mexico around 1000 B.C. The word “chocolate” is derived from the Mayan word xocolatl, or “bitter water.”

Although cacao originated in Central and South America more than 4,000 years ago, today approximately 70% of the world’s cacao is grown in Africa. Cote d’lvoire is the single largest producer of cocoa, providing roughly 40% of the world’s supply.

The cacao tree’s botanical name is Theobroma Cacao, which means “food of the gods” (they sure go this one right!!) in Greek.  From the beginning, chocolate has traditionally been associated with magical, medicinal, and mythical properties.  Cacao has been around for millions of years and is probably one of the oldest of nature’s foods.

Nearly all cacao trees grow within 20 degrees of the equator, and 75% grow within 8 degrees of either side of it. Cacao trees grow in three main regions: West Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia/Oceania.

Each cacao tree can produce approximately 2,500 beans. It takes a cacao tree four to five years to produce its first beans and it takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.  The trees can live to be 200 years old, but they produce marketable cocoa beans for only 25 years.

Ninety percent of modern cacao is made from a type of cacao called forastero (foreigner). However, before the 1800s, cacao was made from a type of bean called criollo. Even though forastero does not taste as good as criollo, it is easier to grow.

The English chocolate company Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842. George Cadbury, a Quaker, amassed a great fortune producing drinking chocolate as an alternative to alcohol. Cadbury hoped chocolate would tempt people away from alcohol.

In 1875, Swiss Daniel Peter discovered a way of mixing condensed milk, manufactured by his friend Henri Nestlé, with chocolate to create the first milk chocolate.

In 1879, Swiss Rodolphe Lindt discovered conching, an essential process in refining chocolate. He discovered it by accident when his assistant left a machine running all night.

Hershey Kisses were first introduced in 1907 and, Hershey’s produces over 70 million chocolate Kisses–every day. The largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S. is Hershey’s. Hershey’s produces over one billion pounds of chocolate product annually.

The first chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Wakefield who ran the “Toll House Inn.” The term “Toll House” is now legally a generic word for chocolate chip cookie. It is the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts.

Red wine typically compliments chocolate the best (try it!) Champagne and sparkling wine are too acidic to go well with dark chocolate, but not so bad with white chocolate.

Reports predict that the global chocolate market will grow to over $100 billion from $83.2 billion in 2010.

German chocolate cake was named after Sam German, an American, and did not originate in Germany

Dark chocolate has been shown to be beneficial to human health, SEE I KNEW IT WAS A HEALTH FOOD!

The largest cuckoo clock made of chocolate can be found in Germany.

Research suggests that dark chocolate boosts memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have also found that dark chocolate can improve the ability to see in low-contrast situations (such as poor weather) and promote lower blood pressure, which has positive effects on cholesterol levels, platelet function, and insulin sensitivity.  AGAIN WITH ALL OF THESE HEALTH BENEFITS!

Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Montezuma II), the 9th emperor of the Aztecs, was one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the world. He was also known as The Chocolate King. At the height of his power, he had a stash of nearly a billion cacao beans.

The country whose people eat the most chocolate is Switzerland, with 22 pounds eaten per person each year. Australia and Ireland follow with 20 pounds and 19 pounds per person, respectively. The United States comes in at 11th place, with approximately 12 pounds of chocolate eaten by each person every year.

U.S. chocolate manufacturers use about 3.5 million pounds of whole milk every day to make milk chocolate.

Americans collectively eat 100 pounds of chocolate every second.

In 2008, Thorntons in London created the world’s largest box of chocolates at 16.5 feet tall and 11.5 feet wide. The box contained over 220,000 chocolates and weighed 4,805 pounds. Previously, the record was held by Marshall Field’s in Chicago with a box containing 90,090 Frango mint chocolates and weighing a whopping 3,326 pounds.

The most expensive chocolate in the world is the “Madeleine” and was created by Fritz Knipschildt of Knipschildt Chocolatier in Connecticut.

Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year. Over 2,000 chocolate shops are found throughout the country, many located in Brussels where Godiva chocolate originated.

Owing to the nature of cacao butter, chocolate is the only edible substance that melts at around 93° F, just below body temperature. This means that after placing a piece of chocolate on your tongue, it will begin to melt.  Left in the car during the summer … well, you know!

In some parts of Latin America, the beans were used as a currency as late as the 19th century.

The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona, Spain, in 1780.

According to Italian researchers, women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who do not. They also had higher levels of desire, arousal, and satisfaction from sex.

One chocolate chip can give a person enough energy to walk 150 feet. (This makes total sense to me – one package of Toll House cookies helps me run around the block!)

A Hershey’s bar was dug up after 60 years from Admiral Richard Byrd’s cache at the South Pole. Having been frozen all those years, it was still edible.

Chocolate melting in a person’s mouth can cause a more intense and longer-lasting “buzz” than kissing. Hershey’s Kisses were first produced in 1907 and were shaped like a square. A new machine in 1921 gave them their current shape.  Putting a Hershey’s kiss in your mouth, and then kissing, we’ll – buzz, buzz, buzz.

A lethal dose of chocolate for humans is about 22 pounds, which is about 40 Hershey bars.  (good tip, as I usually stop at about 35).