Would you believe that every year around February 14 — Valentine’s Day — men and women (but mainly men!) spend over $1 billion on chocolate? It’s true! What is it about chocolate that people love so much?

If you love chocolate, there’s just something about its sweet taste that’s better than any other type of sweet treat. What’s your favorite type of chocolate?

Do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate?  Would you rather have a chocolate pie, a chocolate cake, or a solid chocolate candy bar? Maybe you like to drink your chocolate in the form of chocolate milk or hot chocolate? Some people even enjoy just snacking on chocolate chips!

People’s fascination with chocolate began over 2,000 years ago. It was way back then in Latin America that the Mayans and Aztecs discovered that they could combine crushed cocoa beans (what chocolate is made from) with water to make the first chocolate-flavored drinks.

During his travels in the 16th century, Christopher Columbus noticed how people in the Caribbean used cocoa beans as money, just like the ancient Aztecs did. He brought these beans back to Europe where they soon became very popular. Many people believed the cocoa beans had magical powers. French doctors were even known to use them to treat “broken hearts.”

By the mid-1800s, the Cadbury Brothers began making chocolate candies to sell in their shop in England. In 1861, Richard Cadbury made the first heart-shaped box of chocolate candies for Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate candies in heart-shaped boxes have been a popular Valentine’s Day present ever since. In fact, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association estimates that approximately 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candy — about 58 million pounds’ worth — are sold each year around Valentine’s Day.

Besides the fact that people love the taste of chocolate, is there any other reason that chocolate should be so closely associated with Valentine’s Day? Maybe!

Scientists today believe that a chemical in chocolate — phenylethylamine — may be responsible for certain feelings we experience. They believe this chemical may make the body release serotonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel calm, relaxed, and happy.

Americans eat a lot of chocolate every year. Experts estimate Americans eat about 11 pounds per person each year. That’s a lot of chocolate, but not near as much as the world’s leaders in chocolate consumption.

When it comes to eating chocolate, no one beats Switzerland. The Swiss eat an incredible 22 pounds of chocolate per person each year!

174 Join the Discussion

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  1. I loved this wonder!!!!! My favorite chocolate is Hershey’s milk chocolate!!!! Yummmmmmmmy!!!!!!!!! I visit wonderopolis EVERY DAY (Mon., Tue., Wed., Thur., and Fri.) with my 5th grade class!!!
    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about the heart. <3 Albus

    • Good morning, Albus! Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis today and for letting us know you and your classmates visit us every day at school, as well! We think milk chocolate is extra yummy, too! :-)

  2. I love chocolate, especially on Valentine’s Day. I think that day is so romantic. I don’t know why, I just do. I think that getting stuff on Valentine’s Day makes me feel so loved and I bet it makes other people feel loved, too. Although some people try to go overboard on stuff and makes themselves look a little weird! I love Valentine’s Day!!! <3 <3 <3 <3

    • Thank you so much for leaving us this awesome comment to let us know how you feel about chocolate and Valentine’s Day, Cassidy! We really had a great time reading it! :-)

    • You’re awesome for letting us know your favorite chocolate, Emma! We think there will be LOTS of Wonder Friends who will agree with you about milk chocolate! :-)

  3. I love chocolates!!!! My favorite kind of chocolate is milk chocolate with caramel in the middle!!! Chocolate is super yummy and I love chocolate because it is yummy. You should not constantly eat chocolates because it could make you unhealthy and it might rot your teeth. SO DO NOT EAT TO MUCH CHOCOLATE!!!!!
    :)
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    :)
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    :)

    • We like your choice for favorite chocolate, Hannah! Thanks for leaving us this comment today and also for sharing your warning about eating too much of it! :-)

    • Hooray for milk chocolate, hooray for third graders, and hooray for YOU, Mr. P.! Milk chocolate seems to be pulling way ahead as a favorite in our Wonder Friend comments today, too! :-)

  4. I really like chocolate. If I could, all that I would eat would be chocolate. I think that tomorrow’s wonder has something to do with valentines.

    • We know LOTS of other Wonder Friends who would agree with you about wanting to eat nothing but chocolate all the time, Zoey! Thanks for visiting today’s Wonder and for leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

  5. My favorite kind of chocolate is Snickers. I really like all the chocolates except the ones with the mint in them. My favorite kind of chocolates are Snickers, Hershey’s, M&M, and all the other ones, and the ones that I really like are Snickers. Whenever I go to a store or gas station, I have to get a Snickers, and if I don’t get one, I have a tantrum or fit or I get mad at my mom and don’t talk to her or look at her.

    • WOW! It sounds like you REALLY like your chocolate, Victoria, especially those Snickers! We hope you thank your mom for all the times she HAS let you get a candy bar at the store or the gas station. We think she would really appreciate that! :-)

    • We appreciate your kind of thinking, Garrett! We like all types of chocolate, so it’s difficult for us to pick a favorite, too! :-)

    • We’re glad you liked today’s Wonder of the Day® about chocolate, Quinn! Thanks for leaving us this GREAT comment to let us know you were here! :-)

  6. I truly dislike milk chocolate and dark chocolate. My favorite chocolate is cookies and cream. yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) Hahahahahahahhaha. I like cookies and cream because I also like white chocolate and cookies. I love wonderopolis. It is very interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thx

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion about chocolate today and also for letting us know you enjoy hanging out in Wonderopolis, Wonder Friend! We like cookies and cream, too!

    • We think chocolate + peanut butter = a WONDERful treat, Madison! Thanks for exploring today’s Wonder and letting us know your favorite chocolate! :-)

  7. I think that wonderopolis should take a survey so everybody knows how many people like what chocolate type and which chocolate type is most liked.

    Types of chocolates like: Hershey’s, Reese’s Cups, etc.

    • That sounds like fun, Kolbe! If you think about it, we are already doing that in a way by asking all of our Wonder Friends to share their favorite chocolate in a comment! There are LOTS of different types of chocolate out there, and we’re so glad you guys are sharing your favorites with us! :-)

  8. I LOVE chocolate!!!!!!!!! My favorite chocolates are those little round shaped candy, with the crunchyness like oreo, chocolate filled and a peanut in the middle!
    YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Those sound really delicious, Crazy Coco! Thank you for sharing your favorite chocolate with us! We appreciate you leaving us a comment! :-)

    • We have so many favorites that it’s hard to pick just one, Sarah! Thanks for sharing YOUR favorite chocolate, though! :-)

  9. After watching the video my mouth started watering. My favorite is the dark chocolate. That reminds me, I’m going to the store to buy some.
    :)

    • That video was GREAT for Wonder Friends who like chocolate, wasn’t it, Carolyn? Thank you for sharing your favorite chocolate with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  10. We did a chocolate taste test of hershey kisses. Our favorite was light air kisses. Our next favorite was caramel swirl. Our third favorite was dark, and our fourth favorite was the regular chocolate. Thanks Wonderopolis! Love – KF Dragons

    • It sounds like you guys had a lot of tasty fun deciding your class’ favorite chocolate kisses today, KF Dragons! Thanks so much for sharing the results with us! :-)

  11. Hi Wonderopolis! Thank you for this yummy wonder! We did not know that they used cocoa beans as money. It’s so cool that the Swiss eat 22 pounds of chocolate each year. Thank you again for today’s wonder. Bye!

    • Thank you BOTH for exploring today’s SWEET Wonder and for leaving us this great comment! We’re happy to hear all the awesome things you learned about chocolate today! :-)

    • There are SOOOOOO many Wonder Friends who agree with you, Ashlyn! We really appreciate your comment today…thank you for sharing it with us! :-)

  12. My favorite type of chocolate is this candy called Richardson’s deluxe where they put a ball of peanut butter inside the chocolate candy. It is SOOO good! :)

    • We think that’s AWESOME, Soddy! Thank you so much for visiting this Wonder and for letting us know what your favorite chocolate is! :-)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Cool and yummy wonder! My favorite kinds of chocolate are milk and dark. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about bugs.
    XOXOXOXOXO,
    Paige ;)

    • We’re happy that you like more than one kind of chocolate, Paige! We do, too! Actually, we like LOTS of different kinds of chocolate, so it’s not easy to pick ONE favorite! :-)

    • We think that’s a WONDERful choice for a favorite chocolate, Ninjarol! Thanks for commenting on this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  14. Today’s wonder was one of my favorites! I think that tomorrow’s wonder is about valentines that kids give out at school. My favorite chocolate is milk chocolate with cream and caramel inside.

    • We’re so glad you liked this Wonder of the Day®, Liddie! Thank you for letting us know your favorite chocolate and also for always leaving us SUPER comments…you’re a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  15. When I saw that video I had to make it full screen and I sat staring and drooling at it. Yum yum. My favorite chocolate would probably be… I don’t know probably it would be between dark and Ferrero Roche. But I like most chocolate. What’s your favorite, wonderopolis?:)

    • We thought the video for today’s Wonder was GREAT too, Wonder Friend! Thank you for sharing your favorite chocolates with us today. It’s hard to choose only one favorite…there are SO MANY different, yummy kinds and flavors of chocolate in the world! We love them all! :-)

  16. If I had to pick my favorite kind of chocolate, it would have to be truffles! I especially love ones that are given on valentine’s day because most guys put in more effort to buy the chocolates on this day than any other day of the year! It is SO romantic!!! And wonderopolis is SO awesome!!! :-P

  17. I love milk chocolate, chocolate ice-cream and a Mexican chocolate from Oaxaca that is called “Mayordomo” (butler) and has to be melted and added to milk or water to make a drink. I don´t like it with water, although that is the original Aztec and Maya drink, before they even had cows in the Americas. They didn’t add any sweetener either, so it used to be really bitter. (they didn’t have sugar, but they had honey).

    • WOW! Thank you so much for sharing about your Mexican culture today and also what your favorite ways to eat chocolate are, Chela! We really appreciate learning new things from you…you are a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  18. Hi Wonderopolis! I really liked this wonder of the day because chocolate is my favorite thing to eat! It’s interesting that chocolate was made over 2000 years ago. It also surprised me that people spend $1 billion on chocolate. It’s weird that people eat 11 pounds of chocolate every year. I could never eat that much!

    • We think you’re AWESOME for letting us know all the chocolatey facts you learned by exploring this Wonder of the Day®, A! Thanks so much for leaving us a comment to tell us! :-)

    • We think so, too, Josh! It made us hungry to hear all the delicious types of chocolates that our Wonder Friends shared as their favorites! :-)

  19. I like chocolate a lot. When I eat it, I don’t go crazy, but my favorite kind of chocolate is all of the chocolate except for dark chocolate it’s nasty a lot. I like milk chocolate, too. I eat it all the time and it’s good. I wonder what’s your favorite chocolate?

    • We’ve had a few Wonder Friends ask us what our favorite chocolate is, Tomiya, and to be honest, we can’t pick just ONE favorite! We like them ALL! Thanks for sharing YOUR favorite chocolate with us today! :-)

    • We think there are a LOT of Wonder Friends who ate chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate yesterday, Salima! Thanks for leaving us this SWEET comment to let us know what YOUR favorite chocolate is! :-)

    • We’re going to take a wild guess and say that you like chocolate a whole bunch! Are we right, Joaquin? We like it a whole bunch, too! :-)

    • We’re sure glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today, Bridget! Thanks for letting us know you thought this Wonder was great! :-)

    • Truffles are AWESOME, Autumn! We are getting hungry just thinking about them! Thanks for sharing your favorite kind of chocolate! :-)

  20. Hi, it’s me again. Please tell me that if you eat 4 chocolates in a row you wont get sick because I just ate 4 chocolates and I think that the wonder of the day for tomorrow will be about horses. Can you please make it horses? I love horses and I think they are beautiful. By the way, who answers all the comments from wonderopolis? I mean, isn’t that kind of tiring and do they answer them from people around the world, too?

  21. Thanks for the recipes. I will definitely ask my mom to make one or all of them. Because all my family LOVES anything to do with chocolate.

    • We think that sounds GREAT, Lindsay! Thanks so much for visiting this SWEET Wonder and letting us know you were here by leaving us a comment! :-)

  22. Hello wonderopolis! Sounds delicious for a day close to Valentine’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t you think so??? Wonderopolis I like um…………..
    Ah, ha, I know, it’s dark chocolate in Dove and Bliss.

    • YES, Chocolate Lover! We really do think this Wonder was a delicious choice for a day close to Valentine’s Day! Thanks so much for sharing your favorite chocolate with us today! :-)

  23. I love chocolate and I love each kind of chocolate! How did you get that video of all the chocolates? In my school, Bailey Elementary, we are a big fan of Wonderopolis and it would be cool to find out so I can tell my friends at Bailey!

    • Happy Sunday, Ally! We think Bailey Elementary ROCKS! It makes us happy to hear that we have so many Wonder Friends there! We search high and low for the best videos to go with each day’s Wonder. We found the video for today’s Wonder by searching for yummy ways CHOCOLATE can be made! We thought the video was AWESOME in how it showed making chocolate to be so artistic! :-)

  24. My favorite chocolate is dark chocolate. I especially like Hershey’s dark chocolate! I went to Chicago last summer and went to the Hershey store, it was awesome!!!

    • WOW, Caleb! We would like to visit a chocolate store! You are SUPER lucky! Chicago is a fun place to visit with lots to do, too, so you must have had a REALLY SWEET time! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We do, too, HA Ruiz! We like so many different types of chocolate that we have a tough time choosing a favorite! Thanks for leaving us this cool comment today! :-)

    • Milk chocolate seems to be at the top of many Wonder Friends’ list of favorite chocolates, Johnathan! Thanks for letting us know it tops your list, too! :-)

  25. My fave kind of treat is french fries dipped in ice cream! It’s salty, sweet, cool, and hot all at the same time! You’ve got to admit that is pretty cool!!!!!!!!

    • That IS really cool, Mak! We know lots of Wonder Friends who agree with you about how yummy french fries dipped in ice cream are. We know one Wonder Friend in particular who likes them dipped in strawberry milkshake! :-)

  26. I think milk chocolate is the best! Dark chocolate is too bitter. But, pretty much all chocolate is delicious!

    • We sure know a lot of Wonder Friends who like milk chocolate, “Love!” Thanks for sharing that it’s a favorite of yours, too! :-)

  27. I like every type except for fillet jelly ones and the super dark chocolate, but I really like cookies and cream white chocolate. Fun, fun, this makes me crave it even more!

    • Thanks for sharing your favorite chocolate, Hj! Cookies and cream white chocolate sounds like a sweet treat! :-)

    • There sure are a lot of different kinds, aren’t there, Kylie? We are SUPER glad you visited this SWEET Wonder of the Day® today and left us this COOL message! :-)

  28. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Thanks you for having this topic as one of your WONDERS!! One thing that I learned reading this article is that on average a person in the USA eats 11 pounds of chocolate each year, and Switzerland has an average of 22 pounds a year per person! That is A LOT of chocolate! Another fact I learned was that scientists today believe that a chemical in chocolate- phenylethylamine- may be responsible for certain feelings we expirience. My favorite chocolate would have to be milk chocolate, but you can never go wrong with chocolate!! Two new vocabulary words that I learned were coco and valentine! Coco is made from crushed up cocoa beans and is put into chocolate. A valentine is a gift or greeting sent or given to a sweetheart (or anyone they want to give it to) on St. Valentines Day. One question I have after reading this is: where did chocolate originate? Thanks again for having this be another WONDERFUL wonder topic!!
    Team McNeil 9

    • Thanks for sharing your favorite chocolate and all the SWEET facts and vocab words you learned by exploring this Wonder, Team McNeil 9! We appreciate your comment and think it’s GREAT that you are WONDERing even more about chocolate! We have a really awesome past Wonder we think you might enjoy:

      Wonder #10 – What Would Your Perfect Candy Bar Taste Like? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/billy-wonka/. :-)

    • We think chocolate is AWESOME, too, Charlotte! We don’t have a Wonder about synchronized swimming yet, but we think that is a SUPER idea and would make a GREAT future Wonder of the Day®! Thanks so much for suggesting it! In the meantime, here’s a Wonder we think you might enjoy (since holding your breath underwater is a part of synchronized swimming):

      Wonder #310 – How Long Can You Hold Your Breath Underwater? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-long-can-you-hold-your-breath-underwater/. :-)

    • We think that’s a WONDERful idea, Charlotte! We really appreciate you letting us know what kind of Wonders you’d like to explore here in Wonderopolis in the future…THANKS! :-)

  29. My favorite kind of chocolate is dark chocolate. In math class, there is candy in there, even chocolate. My friend Alexa and I
    have been taking most of the dark chocolate this year in school because we both like dark chocolate. My brother Nicolas loves milk chocolate. What’s your favorite kind of chocolate? This wonder rocks because I love
    chocolate and it is my favorite type of candy.
    :-)

    • Hi, Julie! Chocolate is one of our favorite candies, too! We like all kinds of chocolate (we should say EVERY kind of chocolate)! It’s hard to pick one favorite because they are ALL awesome! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  30. I love love love chocolate! One time on Valentine’s Day, I got a sweet chocolate box from a secret admirer and ever since then I loved chocolate!! Keep up the good work, Wonderopolis!! :D :D :D

    • YUM, we like your style Kik :)! Thanks for sharing your love for chocolate with us– we are big fans of all kinds of chocolate! We Wonder if you have a favorite… white chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate with peanuts in it, carmel-chocolate… the list goes on and on! :)

  31. Happy Valentine’s Day, Wonderopolis!

    We enjoyed learning about chocolate today. We made a graph of our favorite kinds of chocolate. We hope you have a chocolaty Valentine’s Day!

    Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Class!

    • Happy Valentine’s Day, Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Class! We LOVE the activity you completed in honor of this sweet Wonder. We bet your chart looks great! It’s making us hungry just thinking about it! Have a super day! :)

  32. Dark chocolate is definitely my favorite…..it’s the bomb! This wonder makes me want to go get some chocolate chips…….

  33. Mmmmmm…chocolate, I love it, especially milk chocolate, but there is someone in my family that doesn’t like chocolate,my little brother, Esteban. Anyway, my family eats this food that has cake covered with chocolate, it’s called ”chocoramo” it’s a Colombia dessert. :) ;)

    • YUM, what a delicious comment, Carlos! Thanks for sharing your awesome connections and teaching us about chocoramo, too! :)

  34. WOW that is so cool I had no idea that so many chocolates could be bought around valentines day. This website has so many cool wonders. I am gonna wonder some more

    • Hey there, Prince_MJ, thanks for sharing your comment! We’re so glad you enjoyed WONDERing about chocolate with us today. Come back and visit us soon! :)

    • Thanks for telling us about your favorite kinds of chocolate, Footy Star and Fudge! You’re making us super hungry! :)

    • Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for WONDERing with us! We can’t get enough of chocolate either! It is some WONDERful yumminess! :)

    • Hi Jace! That’s an excellent choice! We’re not sure if there is a wrong answer to this question! Chocolate is always a good thing! :)

  35. My favorite chocolate is the Hershey kiss, and I like them milky and they are very soft. Sometimes, I melt them and put it in my chocolate milk…………!!!!!!!!

  36. I really love dark chocolate. It is SO delicious in cookies, cakes, and on ice cream. I especially like it in dirt cake.
    –JC

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?
  • How much money do people spend every year for chocolate on Valentine’s Day?
  • Who made the first heart-shaped box of chocolate candy?

Wonder Gallery

dreamstime_xl_8339691 (Custom)dreamstime_xl_6878821 (Custom)chocolate barsdreamstime_xl_12218198 (Custom)Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to set sail on a sea of chocolate? If you love chocolate as much as we do, that probably sounds like a WONDERful adventure! So recruit a friend or family member (or two or three!) and try out one or more of the following fun activities:

  • How many ways have you eaten chocolate in the past? If you really sit down and think hard about it, you’ll probably be amazed. So brainstorm and make a list. Here are just a few examples of ways you may have eaten chocolate in the past. How many more can you think of?
    • chocolate chips
    • chocolate cake
    • chocolate pie
    • chocolate milk
    • hot chocolate
  • You don’t need a boat to sail on a sea of chocolate. Just head to the kitchen. You might also need to make a trip to the grocery store. Check out the recipes below and choose one or two to make. Double check to make sure you have all the ingredients and then have fun making your own fantastic chocolate creations!
  • Chocolate is closely associated with Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love. Why do people love chocolate so much? Why do YOU love chocolate? Think of someone you love who also loves chocolate. Write a chocolate-inspired poem for them that expresses how much they mean to you. Do you love them more than all the chocolate chips in the world? Perhaps you think the two of you go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Be inventive. Be creative. If you can, put your poem into an electronic form. Can you tweet it to the person? Post it on their Facebook page? Create a PowerPoint presentation with graphics? Show them some love with chocolate poetry and technology…and then have a chocolate candy or two to celebrate!

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ A Question of Temperature activity, which shows children how temperature plays an important role in melting and cooling chocolate.

 

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