We love chocolate. We love it so much we eat five kilograms of it a year. But how did it get so popular?
Chocolate was first introduced to Europe about 400 years ago. But it was quite different from the chocolate of the Aztecs in Mexico who first produced it. The Aztecs took the beans of the cocoa tree and ground them into a paste, which was added to water and drunk. It was incredibly bitter. When the Spanish explorers discovered it in the 1600s, they added sugar to sweeten it. This helped it to become popular among the ruling class in Europe.
As it spread across Europe, its price decreased and more people were able to experience its wonderful taste. Over the years, advancements were made in processing the beans and today its taste is very consistent.
But chocolate sadly has a dark side as well. Often, small children are forced to work on cocoa plantations. Because of this, the Fair-Trade Foundation has worked with cocoa growers to make sure they are not using child labor. By buying Fair-Trade chocolate, we can have chocolate that is both good for us and good for others.
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.