Chocolate’s a wonder. Recently elevated to superfood status, the world’s favorite luxury foodstuff (making up half the candy sold in the U.S.) is so complicated and versatile that we’ve barely scratched its surface. It’s a dessert? Tell that to anyone who puts dark chocolate in their chili. It’s unhealthy? In moderation, it’s good for your heart, your skin and your brain. If you think you know chocolate’s role in the world, here are 15 facts that might surprise you.
Once, money grew on trees in the form of cocoa beans. The Mayans (who are thought to have first discovered chocolate) used cocoa beans as a form of currency. The Aztecs did the same, even levying taxes in precious cacao…and of course producing the famous and no doubt expensive drink Xocolatl.