Coral Gables, FL, February 27, 2007-AsFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden gets ready for its first ever International Chocolate Festival this weekend, March 3 and 4, here are a few fun and interesting facts for the chocolate lovers in all of us.
· Archeologists believe that the Mayan Indians of Central America cultivated cacao trees as early as the seventh century
· In 1502 Christopher Columbus was the first European to come in contact with cacao
· Twenty years after Columbus‘ discovery of the "New World", it was Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez who introduced the Europeans to chocolate by bringing back three chests full of cacao beans to the Spanish King
· In some parts of Central America, cacao beans were used as currency as recently as the last century
· Montezuma supposedly drank more than fifty cups of chocolate a day, thinking it would make him feel more passionate
· Actually, there is a chemical in chocolate-phenyl ethylamine-which is also produced by the brain when your in love
· There are three main varieties of cacao trees: Forastero, which accounts for 90% of the world‘s production, Criollo, the rarest and most prized and Trinitario which is a cross between Criollo and Forastero
· In 1753 Carl Linnaeus first formally gave the chocolate plant the scientific name Theobroma cacao. The generic name (Theobroma) means "food of the gods" in Greek which the specific name (cacao) is derived from the Mayan language
· In 1847 the English made the first chocolate to eat, and in 1876 two Swiss chocolate makers, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé created milk chocolate
About the International Chocolate Festival
Fairchild‘s International Chocolate Festival is in its first year and is this winter‘s must-attend event. It is the only festival of its kind in South Florida and offers 2 full days of everything chocolate from a variety of chocolate plants for purchase, fun things for the kids, chocolate tastings, a marketplace of chocolate products, educational lectures, Chocolate inspired cuisine, entertainment and much more. The International Chocolate Festival is taking place Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for Children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. For more information, please call 305-667-1651 or visit www.fairchildgarden.org.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation. Currently Fairchild has field programs in over 20 countries including support to protected areas in Madagascar and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean and Middle East. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden houses the National Palm Collection as recognized by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), has the world‘s greatest living collection of palms and cycads; an education program reaching more than 26,000 school children per year; hosts popular events like the International Mango and Orchid Festivals, the Ramble, concerts, affiliated plant society shows and sales and more; and, is a not-for-profit organization relying on the support of its 36,000 members and benefactors. We host major art events such as Chihuly at Fairchild in 2005 and 2006. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables (Miami), Florida 33156. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for Children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. For more information, please visit www.fairchildgarden.org.