Chocolate most commonly comes in
dark, milk, and white varieties.
Chocolate is a raw or processed
food produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree. Cacao has been
cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico,
Central and South America.
Its earliest documented use was around 1100 BC.
Much of the chocolate consumed
today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter
and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk
powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and
milk but no cocoa solids.
Chocolate has become one of the
most popular food types and flavors in the world. Gifts of chocolate molded
into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays. Chocolate
bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, chocolate coins on Hanukkah, Santa
Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and chocolate hearts or chocolate
in heart-shaped boxes on Valentine's Day.
Chocolate is also used in cold
and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk and hot chocolate. Chocolate is
created from the cocoa bean.
A cacao tree with fruit pods in
various stages of ripening
one of the most popular holiday gifts. On Valentine's Day, a box of chocolates
is traditional, usually presented with flowers and a greeting card. It may be
gifted on other holidays, including Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and
birthdays. At Easter, chocolate eggs are traditional. This is a confectionery
made primarily of chocolate, and can either be solid, hollow, or filled with
other sweets or fondant.