Chocolate has one of the highest concentrations of lead of all the foods eaten by Westerners. Although lead binds to cocoa shells, the beans absorb little lead in the countries where they are grown.
This contamination seems to appear at some time during the manufacturing process. The U.S. FDA has done testing and the levels of lead in chocolate are so low that even if a person eats chocolate every day, they are unlikely to suffer any adverse effects.
Called theobromine poisoning, animals such as horses, dogs, parrots and cats (especially kittens) frequently die from the toxicity of chocolate. This is because animals can not metabolize therbromine readily and it will remain in their blood streams for up to 20 hours.
They may experience epileptic seizures, heart attacks, internal bleeding and finally death. Treatment for them involves inducing vomiting within two hours of eating the chocolate or contacting their veterinarian. About 1.3 grams of chocolate per kilo of the dogs body weight is enough to cause toxicity, in other words a .88 oz bar of chocolate would be enough to cause these symptoms in a 44 pound dog.
While large dogs are not as susceptible, it should still be kept out of their reach as dogs like chocolate as much as humans do.
There are fifteen movies, nine books, six songs, two anime characters and two bands with the name chocolate, this list is not complete and continues to grow daily.
There are six large volume chocolate makers in the world, three in the United States, one in the United Kingdom, one in Italy and one in Switzerland (where white chocolate originated after World War I. The regionally large chocolate makers are found in Brazil, Finland, the United States, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand.
Nine of the larger chocolate companies make confectioners or premium chocolate; they are located in Belgium, 3 in Italy, the United Kingdom, two in the United States and two in France.
The most historically significant chocolate makers were: J. S. Fry and Sons in the United Kingdom was the first producer of edible chocolate. Lindt & Sprungli in Switzerland developed conching, a technique for processing fine chocolate.
Menier Chocolate of France Pierre Paul affarel in Italy built the first manufacturing company for mass production in 1826.
The Aztecs and Chocolate: The Aztecs had a great love of chocolate and it was one of their favorite drinks. One of the reasons was the native drink of the Aztecs, known as octli, was alcoholic and being drunk was frowned on by the Aztec society.
Made from the century plant, octli was a juice that came from cutting the stalk of the flower from the century plant that had matured. The stalk was undercut and removed leaving a basin that the juices collected in, this juice was collected for a period of several months and allowed to ferment, turning it into octli.
Chocolate to the Aztecs was a much more acceptable drink, the warriors and nobility especially desired it. Octli was not prohibited, the elderly were permitted to drink it, and actually they were identified as people who had children and grandchildren, not necessarily old. They were allowed to have up to four cups each night, at some feasts every one could drink it, however the normal penalty for being drunk was death.
Chocolate, understandably became an acceptable replacement for octli with higher up Aztec civilization, even then not everyone accepted chocolate as a drink. Because cacao was seen to be a luxury product, not standard in the austere life they had lived previously, many of the Aztec associated chocolate to the leisure and luxury loving people of the Gulf Coast and the lowlands it had originated in.
Remembering that the Aztecs had no scales and that everything was counted, records of the time indicate that the palace and court of Nezahualcoyotl, the king of Texcoco was said to have used 2,744,000 beans annually, now that is a lot of beans! Now his cousin, Motecuhzoma Xooyotzin, was much wealthier, he stored more than 960,000,000 beans in his storehouse.
Cacao beans were used as currency; therefore it was common for storehouses to have huge quantities of them on hand at all times.
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