Ben Franklin gets the credit for saying that wine was “a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” We think chocolate smiles on us, too—with the bonus that you can  enjoy chocolate legally while driving (just watch out for a sticky steering wheel).

In this month of hearts and flowers and sweet treats . . .   check out these little bites of chocolate trivia. While you’re at it, why not grab your favorite chocolate snack to munch on?

  • Chocolate used to be a high-dollar luxury item.
    Milton Hershey’s to thank for making chocolate affordable for the masses. He introduced cocoa in 1894 and in 1900 built a factory that made chocolate available at prices the working-class could afford. (Thanks, Milton!) Source: Hershey’s

Hershey’s Kisses, introduced in 1907, originally were wrapped by hand, reminding us of this classic TV memory…

  • Americans will buy 58 million pounds of chocolate candy during Valentine’s Day week. But Valentine’s Day is not the biggest chocolatey holiday on the calendar; Halloween gets that prize. And when you’re counting candy of all kinds, Easter beats them both. Sources: History.com, CNBC
  • It was used as money.In some parts of Central America, cacao beans—chocolate in its raw form—were considered currency as recently as the last century. If you’ve ever begged for a piece of chocolate from a friend’s candy bowl to satisfy a craving, you get it!  Source: Exploratorium
  • It’s a great excuse for a vacation.National Geographic listed the 10 best chocolate shops in the world so serious chocolate lovers can add these to your bucket list: Peru, Australia, West Indies, and Mexico. There is one in Maryland (SpagNVola in Gaithersburg) and one in Canada (Soma in Toronto). Source: National Geographic
  • Eating dark chocolate every day can lower your blood pressure.It’s good for your cardiovascular health AND can improve insulin sensitivity, so it’s basically a health food. You’re welcome. Source: Scientific American
  • It’s potent.The story goes, nuns were forbidden to eat chocolate because of its romantic power and French doctors supposedly used it to treat broken hearts (something women have been doing for years even without a prescription). Source: WebMD
  • White chocolate isn’t. Chocolate, that is. While it does contain cocoa butter, it does not have cocoa “liquor” and so can’t be counted as true chocolate. That certainly won’t keep us from enjoying it!  Source: Food Network

What’s your favorite flavor of chocolate? Dark, Milk or White (because even though it’s not “real” chocolate  some people prefer it to the real thing).