By Margot Thomas
PANAMANIANS are the biggest consumers of chocolate in Central America with each inhabitant consuming 650 grams (1.43) pounds of chocolate a year and the trend is increasing, and in Panama, handmade chocolate paste is prepared for sale abroad.
On International Chocolate Day, July 7,,US manufacturer, Hershey, ran a four page supplement in La Prensa, devoted to the tasty repast which originated in what is now Latin America.
All of which could explain why the recent Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre Dying for Chocolate, organized by the CanadaPLUS Club was a sellout, leaving many who left a bid for reservations to the last minute, disappointed. They missed a stunning performance by a multi talented cast, who sang, danced, and quipped their way through a murder plot and, of course, the audience was well supplied with chocolates.
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Europe is the largest consumer in the world, with more than 1.2 million tons per year and the United States, second with about 0.4 million tons a year.
Countries that consume more chocolate and cocoa are: Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, USA, Germany, United Kingdom and Brazil.The first European who tasted bitter chocolate, developed by the Mayans, was Christopher Columbus.
The first chocolate factories were born in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe.