Chocolate is one of the world’s favorite flavors, possibly the most loved taste across 7 continents. This magic bean has been consumed by humans from as far back as 1900 BC, and was an integral part of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations and culture. Europeans combined it with milk and sugar, and with the Industrial Revolution and mass production, the modern era of chocolate began. Though it originated in the Americas, today the small African country of Cote D’Ivoire produces 30% of the world’s cocoa. Everyone loves it, the recipes are endless and September 13th is celebrated as international chocolate day. While most of us don’t need a special day to indulge in the rich creamy glory that is chocolate, International Chocolate Day gives us just one more reason to consume this delectable confection in copious quantities. Here are some interesting facts about chocolate: • Chocolate is America ' s favorite flavor. A recent survey revealed that 52 percent of U. S. adults said they like chocolate best. The second favorite flavor was a tie(at 12 percent each) between berry flavors and vanilla. • U. S. chocolate manufacturers currently use 40 percent of the almonds produced in the United States and 25 percent of domestic peanuts. • U. S. chocolate manufacturers use about 3.5 million pounds of whole milk every day to make chocolate. • Fifty - three percent of adults aged 55 or older prefer dark chocolate while thirty - seven percent favor milk chocolate. The younger crowd is different, with fifty - five percent of people aged 18-34 choosing milk chocolate and only thirty - one percent preferring dark. • The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature(98.6 degrees) — which is why it literally melts in your mouth. • Older children are significantly more likely to prefer chocolate than younger children(59 percent of 9-11year - olds prefer chocolate vs. 46 percent of 6-8 year - olds), according to an NCA survey. Sure we know that chocolate can be high in calories. But there are some good reasons to eat chocolate, even if it ' s not Sept. 13. Here are two: • Dark chocolate(but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk) is a potent antioxidant, according to WebMD. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments. • WebMD reports that dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure—if you ' ve reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.