Chocolate isn’t just for eating, so ELL have compiled five surprising and wacky uses for it; from jazzing up postage stamps to constructing sculptures:
Ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cacao beans for currency. They were rare to come by in drier climates, which made them a valuable treasure.
Unlike these days when we pounce on a bar of Dairy Milk, these beans were only consumed as they became worn over time. A 1545 list of commodity prices in Tlaxcala, Mexico shows cacao’s purchasing value: for 100 beans you could purchase one good turkey hen, while for three beans you could get an egg.
The beans were also used as gifts for emperors and also offerings during religious ceremonies, when transformed to liquid.
Belgium, so long famed for its chocolate, honoured its country’s chocolatiers in 2013 by selling limited-edition stamps that smelled and tasted like chocolate. Launched by Belgium’s post office, Bpost, the stamps contain an essence of cocoa oil in the glue as well as the ink. The stamp was developed by an international team of taste and fragrance experts.
Five limited edition stamps were created featuring various forms of chocolate such as sprinkles, Nutella and rough pieces. More than 500,000 stamps were printed.
An 111ft, 8 inch chocolate model of a train won a Guinness World Record in 2012 for the longest chocolate sculpture at Brussels’s World Chocolate Week. Made by Andrew Farrugia, from Malta, the sculpture was unveiled and measured at Brussels South railway station in Belgium.
The sculpture, which used 1,285 kg of chocolate, featured an old steam locomotive at one end and a modern locomotive at the other, with different carriages in between, created in perfect intricate detail.
In 2013, a biotechnical company called Theodent introduced chocolate toothpaste. In short, it uses cocoa beans as an alternative to fluoride, using a substance called Rennou as its active ingredient. It re-mineralizes the surface of human teeth by increasing ‘unit crystals’ to four times their normal size thus strengthening teeth and regenerating enamel.
Unfortunately, the toothpaste doesn’t actually taste of chocolate – given Rennou comes from the part of chocolate that makes it bitter – and is in fact ‘minty and refreshing’ due to added flavouring.
Instead of using the classic water and washing up liquid combo, the team behind the Fourth Paragraph Productions YouTube channel, formerly known as Bangakang, (who make fun video, pranks, stunts, sketches and everything in between) used chocolate for a ‘slip n’slide’.
This requires 200 yards of plastic sheeting and many, many bottles of chocolate syrup.
Coat the runway and slide! Edible fun is always a good idea after all.