News about Chocolate!

Get summary reports on news about chocolate-related topics from a variety of sources plus commentary from this site’s manager. Typical topics cover cocoa agriculture, the business of chocolate production and marketing, products, and research on health and benefits. References to original sources are given for each item.

There are many things going on in the wonderful world of news about chocolate and these summaries will keep you choco-literate and provide a source of interesting facts to pass on to your friends.

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Table of Contents
News about Chocolate:

  • Chocolate lovers outraged as smugglers try to market counterfeit premium chocolate!
  • More confirmation that dark chocolate is the perfect diet food!
  • A new use for (waste) chocolate – biofuel for vehicles – what a waste of chocolate!
  • New study - cacao drinks much older than thought
  • Cool new research helps explain “chocoholics

Chocolate lovers outraged as smugglers try to market counterfeit premium chocolate!

An Associated Press story publicized that French customs agents seized ten tons of counterfeit Ferrero Rochers chocolate bonbons in late November. Some 33,000 boxes, packaged as the popular Italian brand and worth an estimated $312,000, had been trucked from Turkey to France, probably intended for gift-giving. Not surprisingly, tests revealed that they were not up to the chocolate-maker’s quality standards but were otherwise harmless. However, true chocolate lovers would have been very disappointed if they had bought the counterfeit, low quality product. We chocoholics are outraged at the thought of anyone stooping so low as to deceive in the purchase of so precious a product!

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More confirmation that dark chocolate is the perfect diet food!

New facts about dark chocolate have been discovered by university researchers in Denmark – that it is more filling than milk chocolate and that it reduces subsequent desire for sweet, salty and fatty foods. So there you go – the perfect diet food!

Researchers compared the effect of eating dark and milk chocolate on feeling “full” and thus subsequent calorie intake. Young men first ate 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, of dark or milk chocolate. The total calories consumed at a subsequent meal of pizza, where the men could eat as much pizza as they wanted, was 15 percent lower when they had eaten dark chocolate. They also said the dark chocolate made them feel less like eating sweet, salty or fatty foods. So parents, give your teenagers some dark chocolate before a pizza meal to keep your food costs down!

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A new use for (waste) chocolate – biofuel for vehicles – what a waste of chocolate!

Two British men found a new use for chocolate - to make biofuel. That’s progress? Not to chocolate lovers! Actually, it’s not so bad. They used three tons of “waste” chocolate to produce 396 gallons of biofuel to fuel their drive from England to Timbuktu in the Sahara desert, a 4,473-mile journey. Their intent had nothing to do with chocolate per se, but rather to demonstrate “green” alternatives to fossil fuels and to actually make a “carbon-negative” trip.

Their scheme saved an estimated 15 tons of carbon emissions compared to using conventional fuel. The biofuel was made by recycling “waste” chocolate (an oxymoron) – such as misshapen Easter eggs and bars that otherwise are sent to landfills. The large chocolate company produces 5,000 tons of waste each year (how can I get some of that!). Chocolate is actually well suited for making biodiesel since it contains fat, which was added to recycled cooking oil, and sugar, which is distilled into ethanol used in the biofuel. The project helped the chocolate factory by using its waste, helped the local government by reducing landfill needs and helped the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

The demand for biofuels made from agricultural crops, such as corn, has risen sharply, but those fuels compete with using the crops for food. Biofuel, made from waste, is a superior way to achieve multiple environmental objectives. Let’s just hope no one gets a crazy idea to convert cacoa directly into fuel and bypass making delicious chocolate!

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New study - cacao drinks much older than thought

New research in Central American indicates that wealthy elites drank a “beer” made from fermented cocoa fruit pulp before 1000 BC, about 500 years earlier than previous evidence of cocoa-based drinks.

This fermented brew was a “beer” or “wine,” but the long-necked vessel from which it was drunk looks more like our modern beer bottle. Over the centuries of brewing this drink, the ancient people apparently discovered making bitter chocolate-flavored drinks using the fermented beans themselves.

It is known that the cacao bean was quite important in the civilizations of Mexico and Central America prior to the Spanish conquest in the 1500s and that a frothed chocolate drink made from fermented beans was widely drunk in social life and rituals.

The evidence for the conclusion that there was a much earlier drink was discovered in archaeological investigation in modern-day Honduras. Sophisticated chemical analysis shows there was “cocoa” residue in vessels found in relatively large houses, indicating that the wealthy drunk the beverage – possibly only for special celebrations such as marriages and births.

The chemical analysis cannot determine whether the beverage was a wine/beer made from pulp or the later drink made from the beans but while the serving vessels of the latter were short and wide so it could be poured back and forth to create froth, the former had long, skinny spouts like a beer bottle.

See a full article at:

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Cool new research helps explain “chocoholics”

Research confirms that there are differences at the molecular level between those blessed with a love of chocolate and those other poor souls who do not appreciate this delicious treat. It’s not all psychological after all!

Research conducted at the Nestlé (as in chocolate) Research Center in Switzerland (now there is a place to work!) and Imperial College London shows that peoples’ preferences for rich, creamy chocolate appear to be "imprinted" in the body.

The study used some fancy statistical analyses to identify particular molecules present in us chocolate lovers. From a group of 75 males (women were excluded to avoid the effects of “hormonal changes” – PMS!), 11 were identified as clearly chocolate lovers and 11 clearly chocolate-indifferent (where do they find these weirdos?). Each group was given a specified diet for five days, including sometimes either 50 grams of chocolate or 50 grams of bread on certain days. (Chocolate or bread – now there is a contrast.) Blood and urine samples were collected to measure the effects.

The “plasma metabolic profiles” of the chocolate-loving people could be distinguished from those (space aliens) who were indifferent to chocolate – differences in low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). Urine analyses also highlighted differences in gut “microflora” between the two groups.

The results indicate that diet leads to a sort of metabolic “imprinting” – the body/digestive system becomes attuned to a particular diet. The researchers believe this finding can be applied to assess other types of foods.

(We chocolate lovers suggest further research that we think would show some sort of major brain deficiency in those who don’t like chocolate.)

The full scholarly article will be available in the Journal of Proteome Research, Vol. 6, No. 11, published by American Chemical Society.

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