7 of the Most Interesting Ways Chocolate Has Been Used
It’s fair to say that most people are obsessed with chocolate—from its taste to its appearance—but its prevalence as a decadent sweet treat and its rich history have given the world plenty of ways to use chocolate that go far beyond simple culinary concoction or confection.
Did you know that the Mayans and Aztecs used to use cocoa beans as a form of currency? They would trade with them and also use them to pay their taxes. Similar to coffee’s popularity across the world, chocolate—in its bean form—is one of the most tradable goods no matter where you go. That certainly makes you think twice about all of the chocolate coins you’ve ever eaten, doesn’t it?
2. Chocolate covering/coating
It’s not enough that we can just nibble on a delicious piece of chocolate—we also love putting it on anything and everything we can. Some of the most popular foods to coat in chocolate include nuts; fruits like strawberries, bananas, and berries; and less common snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and even bacon.
Yes, you read that right: Chocolate covered bacon.
Marveling at its sweetness and smooth creaminess, chocolate pairs exceptionally well with saltier foods, hence its use as a coating for crispy slices of bacon or salty potato chips and pretzels. The combination of sweet and salty hits two of our five primary tastes (which also include sour, bitter, and umami/savoriness), making the marriage of foods like chocolate and bacon some kind of wonderful that begs the question, ‘why didn’t we think of this sooner?’
3. Car fuel
Humans aren’t the only ones who love chocolate. Apparently the Escherichia coli bacteria also digs chocolate, and when they consume it, they produce ample amounts of hydrogen that can be used as a clean fuel source for cars, etc. Maybe one day we’ll live in the age of zero-emission, chocolate-powered automobiles. At least we can dream, right?
4. Personal care products
There’s not much about chocolate people don’t like. Its smell, taste, and even texture have inspired us to develop new ways to experience the joy of chocolate’s scent and flavor throughout our day, which brings us to number seven: personal care products!
From lip balms and lotions, to soaps, sugar scrubs, and body butter, one could easily treat themselves to a lavish all-chocolate experience in their daily care regimen.
5. Gourmet Ingredient
Chocolate is revered the world over by gourmet chefs and restaurants as a delectable pairing to any number of other luxury items, such as wine and cheese. They’ve found ways to create plenty of unique pairings like chocolate and chilies, chocolate and Gouda cheese, and even chocolate and edible gold. The food industry has long-since established chocolate as more than just a sweet treat, but as a true gourmet ingredient that can lend its richness, sweetness, depth of flavor, or bitterness to any number of dishes with panache.
We all know about hot chocolate, but chocolate as a drink is far bigger than any packet of powder or jar of syrup. Its flavor has been used to enrich liquors and is a primary ingredient in more than 40 different chocolate drinks served all around the world. From the champurrado (a chocolate-based atole) of Mexico to the pozol (made with fermented corn dough, water, and cocoa) served in Chiapas, chocolate has found itself in liquid form, blended with a variety of ingredients to deliver that perfect amount of smooth richness we’ve all come to love.
7. Special effects (fake blood)
Strange to think something so sweet could have been used for something so sinister, but well-known horror flicks like Night of the Living Dead and Psycho actually used chocolate syrup as the main ingredient in their special FX fake blood. That means all the “gore” they showed was actually just a bunch of people slathered in chocolate. Talk about movie magic!
One of the greatest things chocolate has given us is the creativity to use it in new and exciting ways. Have you found your own unique use for chocolate? Did any of the uses on this list surprise you? Next time you pick up a bag of Wilbur buds, remember that those little gems are so much more than meets the eye.