The plant of the cocoa (Theobroma cacao, of the Sterculiaceae family) is native to Central and South. Theobroma cacao is derived from the greek and means "food of the gods", scientific name attributed by the Swedish botanist Linnaeus in 1953.

Cocoa is obtained from the fruits of this plant. The fruits have the shape of small elongated melons. Inside of them there are seeds, that resemble almonds. These seeds are dried cleaned (or the sun or hot air) and become dust.

Cocoa contains many nutritive substances, such as protein, fat (cocoa butter), carbohydrates, caffeine, theobromine, tannins cellulose, oxalic acid, minerals such as phosphorus, potassium and iron, in addition to vitamins in particular the A and those of group B.

Cocoa and chocolate have a protein of 10-20%; while as regards the content of the chocolate fat contains approximately 50% while the cocoa contains between 10-22%, depending on the amount of cocoa butter. The calories and the amount of nutrients changes depending on the chocolate composition, also varies the amount of theobromine and caffeine, intoxicating, stimulating and invigorating. The amount of these substances are always smaller than those found in coffee. also it contains flavonoids that are of powerful antioxidants to prevent skin aging, chronic degenerative and cardiovascular diseases. For its nutritional profile chocolate is a food that provides valuable calories and is a food with an energy function.

Also cocoa contains phenylethylamine, a chemical similar to amphetamines which acts on brain neurotransmitters, which has power and euphoric exciting. This substance produces our brain when we fall in love. So even one square of dark chocolate (best to choose one that has a high percentage of cocoa), leads to increased production of endorphins and consequently of pleasure.
Various legends tell the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate: a example would Casanova consumed chocolate to conquer some women difficult and Madame de Pompadour, the favorite of Louis XIV, a hot chocolate consumed daily to cure their frigidity.


The consumption of cocoa and its products may be contraindicated in the presence of certain diseases such as kidney stones and oxalic cholecystitis. In some people may lead to allergies and digestive disorders.