chocolate home Search

Facts about chocolate plus a UK buyer's guide.

Cadbury Gifts Direct
- Cadbury chocolate including many products and gifts that are only available online eg a 5kg bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk.

Where does chocolate come from?
cocoa beanChocolate is made from the cocoa bean (see the adjacent photo) which is the fruit of the cacao tree.

The cacao tree grows in a tropical climate, usually in the shade of taller trees as it will not thrive if over exposed to wind and sun.

Who discovered cocoa beans?
They were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502, when he introduced them to the court of King Ferdinand of Spain, after his fourth voyage.

cacao treeWhen was chocolate first made?
A drink was first made by Aztec Indians, who used cocoa beans to make a warm drink they called "chocolatl". This drink was discovered by the Spanish explorer, Hernando Cortez, in 1519. However, it did not appear in solid form until around 1674 (the English suggested chocolate should be eaten in solid form at this time, but it may have already been eaten in solid form in Spain before this date.) In 1847, an English company (Fry) started to commercially produce solid chocolate, followed by the Cadbury brothers two years later. In 1875 in Switzerland, Daniel Peter in conjunction with Henri Nestlé made the first milk chocolate, by adding Nestlé condensed milk.

However, today's chocolates that "melt in the mouth" were first made by another Swiss confectioner, Rodolphe Lindt, in 1879. He added cocoa butter which enables a bar of chocolate to snap, but then dissolve in the mouth.

Does chocolate have any health benefits?
Research has taken place in the US to suggest that eating chocolate may help to fight cardiovascular diseases. It contains flavinoids, which help to stop the blood clotting in the same way as a daily glass of red wine. However, it is also high in fat and refined sugar and in any event should only be eaten in moderation.

There is also some evidence to suggest that dark chocolate is better for you than the milk variety. Dark chocolate is higher in cocoa, which helps to increase the levels of HDL (High Density Lipoproteins), the "good" type of cholesterol that helps to prevent arteries getting clogged up.

Is it addictive?
Certainly many people crave chocolate as it is extremely enjoyable to eat and like other sweet food, it stimulates the release of endorphins in the body that make you feel good. However, it is also contains over three hundred different chemicals that may or may not make it addictive - the jury is still out on this one. It also contains the stimulants caffeine and theobromine in small amounts.

Organic and Fairtrade Chocolate
- An indulgent selection of chocolate gift boxes by Green & Blacks, including a gorgeous after dinner collection. Also wedding favours and a bespoke hamper service.
The House of Chocolates
- Luxury brands from around the world including Ackermans and Neuhaus. There are also dairy free and sugar free ranges, plus a range made with sheep's milk or goat's milk for those with cow's milk allergies and intolerances..

Chocolate Trading Company
- A cornucopia of traditional and innovative products, from the extravagant "Bonnat" drink to fun and novelty items. Also sugar free and diabetic chocolate.


Montezumas
Award winning items include limited edition 70% cocoa dark chocolate, truffle collections, chunky bars, chocolate fruit (imagine cherries soaked in kirsch for weeks then covered in chocolate).
Thorntons
- Buy online from this High Street store and benefit from the site's gift finding and search facililties.

The Gift Store
Check out the giftstore for their range of confectionery including Marzipan and Turkish Delights.