FARGO — If your heart is racing just a little from the idea that chocolate might be a vegetable like Brussels sprouts and broccoli, you might be a chocoholic.
If you need a bite of the stuff every day and you think people who serve oatmeal raisin cookies instead of chocolate chip cookies should be punished, you might be a chocoholic. (Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy for stealing his bit).
The fact is there are a lot of chocoholics out there. Americans love chocolate. Seriously - lie 2.8 billion pounds worth. That's how much we consume every year. If you do the math (and you don't have to because we did it for you) that's approximately 11 pounds per person per year.
But what do you really know about our favorite sweet treat? On this week's episode of "The Scoop with Tracy Briggs," we figured it was time for a little Chocolate 101 class — especially because in less than a week, Fargo-Moorhead's favorite chocolate extravaganza is opening its doors to chocolate-obsessed people everywhere.
The YWCA Chocolate Fantasy and Chili, Too! fundraiser is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Delta by Marriott in Fargo. More than 1,200 people are expected to sample all things chocolate from local bakeries and restaurants. If savory and spicy is more your cup of tea, there'll be chili on hand as well. There's also a silent auction and raffle prizes with the proceeds going to help support the YWCA Emergency Shelter and its mission to help more than 1,500 women and children rebuild their lives after domestic violence and homelessness.
If you're planning on attending the event, you might impress your fellow chocolate lovers with some little-known facts about chocolate. Watch the latest episode of "The Scoop" on inforum.com to watch us try to stump a few unsuspecting chocolate seekers in their tracks.
Is chocolate really a vegetable?
Well, yes — but by the barest possible standards. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that chocolate meets the guidelines for consideration as a vegetable because both dark and milk chocolate come from the cacao bean, which grows on a cacao tree. However, the FDA has made it clear chocolate isn't quite on the same level as other vegetables, which should be consumed in bulk. They recommend adding chocolate to your diet in modest amounts.
A precious commodity
According to The Chocolate Website, the value of the cacao bean and later chocolate itself has been known for centuries. "Columbus’s son Ferdinand recorded that when the Mayans dropped some cacao beans, they all stopped to pick it up, as though an eye had fallen.” During the Revolutionary War, soldiers were sometimes paid in chocolate.
Speaking of soldiers...
M&M's were created during World War II to let soldiers enjoy chocolate without having it melt, leading to its still-famous slogan, "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands." The candy is the No. 1 selling chocolate candy in the United States.
'I'm ready for my close-up...'
Chocolate has been a movie star for generations. It made its Hollywood debut in 1933 when Jean Harlow ate candy in the 1933 film, "Dinner at Eight." Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous shower scene in "Psycho." In 1982, when the Mars company declined to let the producers of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" use M&M's in their film, Hershey's, the makers of Reese's Pieces, jumped at the chance. Sales of the peanut butter and chocolate candy rose 65% just two weeks after the movie's premiere.
Not what you might think
Milky Way candy bars are not named after the galaxy, but instead the malted milkshakes they were designed to taste like. Baby Ruth candy bars are not named after the famous baseball player Babe Ruth, but President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth Cleveland. And 3 Musketeers haven't always been made of chocolate alone. Initially, the treat, created in 1932, contained three small candies, one chocolate, one vanilla and one strawberry. But when the price of strawberries rose during WWII, the company decided to stick to just the most popular flavor — chocolate.
If you go
What: YWCA Chocolate Fantasy and Chili, Too! fundraiser
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5
Where: Delta by Marriott, 1635 42nd St. SW, Fargo
Tickets: $15 for adults and $5 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 5; tickets are available at ywcacassclay.org or at local Hornbacher's stores