There's nothing better than the sweet, smooth taste of chocolate! A traveling exhibit at the natural history museum in Los Angeles is a chocolate-lover's dream!
"The story of chocolate, ah, well it ends here in a place like this, in a chocolate shop," said bill wood, the museum's curator. "But it really begins in the tropical rain forest."
Chocolate literally grows on trees. Well, at least the seeds do. In ancient times chocolate wasn't a candy, it was a drink, sort of an ancient version of hot chocolate. The drink was bitter, served in its own special china. Soon, chocolate houses popped up all over Europe.
In the Aztec empire, chocolate seeds or "cacao seeds" as they're known were even used for money. "Instead of coins, you could go to market with a handful of cacao beans and make purchases," said wood.
But it wasn't long before someone realized that with a little effort. What once was a delicacy could become a delicious treat. "The first candy bar appeared in 1848 or 1847," said wood. "By the end of the century. 50 years later approximately, there are hundreds of candy bars."
Today, Americans buy $13 billion worth of chocolate a year. The average American eats about 12 pounds of chocolate a year, that's about 100 chocolate bars. From the rainforest to the candy store, the story behind chocolate is almost as sweet as the treat itself.
The chocolate exhibition was created by the field museum in Chicago. It's on the second of ten stops in the U.S. between now and 2006. It's headed to New York next, then Hawaii, the Midwest, the south, and back to California.
For a full schedule and more interesting facts about chocolate (click here).