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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 05/08/17

Monday, May 8, 2017

OPEN UP WIDE, FOR ANOTHER HELPING OF SOME CANDY FACTS!







1) Cacao is a tree, native to South America, whose seeds are the source of cocoa and chocolate.




2) Botanists believe that cacao trees grew wild in the Amazon region , however, the use of the cacao tree, for culinary purposes, did not begin until it reached the lush tropical lowlands of southern Mexico over 3000 years ago.



3) The oldest known civilization of the Americas (1500 - 400 B.C.), The Olmecs, were probably the first users of cacao.

   Though few records survived, recent linguistic findings suggest the word "cacao" is derived from the word Kakawa in Mixe-Zoquean, believed to have been their language.



4) Cacao beans were so valuable in ancient Mexico that the Maya and subsequent Aztec and Toltec civilizations used them as a means of currency to pay for commodities and taxes.

   The Aztecs, and other ancient indigenous cultures, believed chocolate to be an aphrodisiac. Although this is not exactly true, chocolate does contain phenyl ethylamine (PEA) which creates a chemical reaction in the brain similar to that of falling in love.



5) In the 17th Century, the first recorded case of “Death by Chocolate” occurred.

   In San Cristobal de las Casa, in Chiapas, Mexico, upper class Spaniards were so addicted to chocolate intake that they refused a church dictated ban forbidding consumption of drink or food during Mass.

   In response, the townspeople refused to uphold this edict and chose to attend worship services in Convents.

   The Bishop of Chiapas, who passed the edict, was found dead due to a mixture of poison that was secretly added to his daily cup of chocolate. Rumor has it that he passed from this world with a smile on his face.









 

6) Cocoa, a rare and expensive commodity, had been introduced in Central Europe via Spain as early as the 1600’s but it wasn’t until 1765 that the first chocolate factory was established in the United States.

   Chocolate was such as a prestigious luxury that the French Ruler, Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King”, established a court position entitled Royal Chocolate Maker to the King.



7) The French Leader Napoleon insisted that wine, from the Burgundy vineyard called Chambertin, as well as chocolate be available during military campaigns.

   Due to its precious nature, the distribution of chocolate was limited to himself and his senior military advisers.



8) In 1765, the company, Walter Baker Chocolate, was founded by Dr. James Baker and his chocolate maker John Hannon, in a converted wooden mill on the banks of the Neponset River in Massachusetts and thus the term “Baking Chocolate” came into being.



9) In 1828, cocoa in a powdered format became widely available. This allowed chocolate to become mass produced and widely available during Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth (19th) century.



10) In 1849 during the “Gold Rush” of San Francisco, Dominbro Ghirardelli of Italy began making chocolate. His original factory still stands at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, CA.









 


11) In 1868, a Parisian named Etienne Guittard arrived in California and started the Guittard Chocolate Company which is still in operation.



12) 1871 was a landmark year for American Chocolate as Milton Hershey, at the age of nineteen (19), founded his company in Pennsylvania.



13) In 1875, Milk Chocolate was introduced. After over eight (8) years of experimentation, Daniel Peter of Switzerland created this concoction.

He sold his creation to his neighbor, Henri Nestle, and thus Nestle Chocolate came into being.



14) In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt, the founder of Lindt Chocolates, invented the process of “Conching” which is used to refine chocolate thus enhancing it’s quality.



15) In 1896, the recipe for chocolate brownies, an American snack food staple, was introduced in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.







 


16) In 1907, the iconic Milk Chocolate Hershey's Kisses were introduced. They are one of the most successful chocolates and Hershey produces approximately 20-25 million per day in a variety of flavors.



17) In 1913, a process was invented by a Swiss Confectioner named Jules Sechaud that allowed chocolates to have unique fillings.



18) The original 3 Musketeers Bar of the 1930s had three parts: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

It became all chocolate in the 1940s and the formula remains the same to this very day.



19) In 1938, Nestle Crunch was introduced. It was the first chocolate bar to combine milk chocolate and crunchy crisps to create a sensory eating experience that blended taste, texture and sound.



20) In 1939, Nestle introduced Chocolate Chips.









 

21) During the Second World War, the U.S. Government commissioned Milton Hershey to create a candy bar to be included in soldier’s rations. The candy bar chosen was the famous Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.

   So successful was this collaboration, Hershey Chocolate was called upon during the Persian Gulf War to create a chocolate bar that could withstand high temperatures.

   The “Desert Bars” were included in the soldier’s daily rations and were also sold to consumers for use in survival kits.



22) In 1960, Chocolate syrup was used to simulate blood in the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “Psycho”. The scene, featuring Janet Leigh, took over seven days to shoot.
   The U.S. produces more chocolate than any other country but the Swiss consume the most, followed closely by the English.

   Americans eat an average of twenty two  pounds of candy each year, or approximately 2.8 BILLION pounds annually, split almost equally between candy and chocolate. That is far less than most Europeans consume.

   The Midwest and the Northeast consume more candy per region than the South, Southwest, West or Mid-Atlantic states.

   The American palette prefers milk chocolate, approximately ninety two percent, but dark chocolate's popularity is growing rapidly.

   American chocolate manufacturers use about 1.5 billion pounds of milk only surpassed by the cheese and ice cream industries. They also consume approximately 3,500,000 pounds of whole milk.

   Chocolate manufacturers currently use forty 40% of the world's almonds and twenty 20 % of the world's peanuts.

   As of 2006, consumers spent more than $7,000,000 a year on chocolate related products

TOP 10 BIZARRE FOOD FESTIVALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!!






   Food food food!  We love it so much it features regularly on the List Universe. And the one thing we love more than food? Bizarre lists. Fortunately this one combines both passions. So sit back and enjoy a fun filled list. Of course, if you can think of other exciting bizarre food festivals, be sure to let me know  in the comments.










10.  Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes)

Where: Oaxaca, Mexico
When: December 23-24 annually

   This is a food festival where eating is discouraged!  This festival originated in the 16th century when Spanish monks brought this edible root to the new colonies. To gain attention in the food markets, sellers would carve some radishes into eye-catching sculptures. This tradition continued throughout the centuries and became an official festival in 1987. Radishes as big as two feet long and weighing upwards of ten pounds are carved into intricate religious or cultural scenes. The artisans can compete in three different categories for cash prizes








 


9.  Annual Testicle Festival

Where: Clinton, Montana, USA
When: July 29-August 2nd


   There are several imitators but this is the original ballfest. Usually known by its classier name, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival, this whole event is dedicated to serving deep-fried bull testicles. You can have your choice plain deep-fried, beer battered, marinated, as well as some newly concocted delectables. For the indecisive, $5 can provide a sampler plate of testicles. Those on a low-testicle diet can have fun as well! One of the highlights of the festival is Bullshit Bingo, with a grand prize of $100 for the lucky person who can correctly predict where a cow will do its doodie. The motto of this dignified event? “I had a ball at the Testicle Festival.”


 
 
 
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8.  World Pea shooting Championship


Where: Witcham, Cambridgeshire, UK
When: July 11th

   This is loosely termed a festival since the food isn’t celebrated; rather, it’s like a block party that grew out of a simple target competition. In 1971, local headmaster Mr. Tyson held the first pea shooting competition as a way to fundraise for the upkeep of the village hall. The entrance fee is only £1.00 for adults and £0.50 for children, but be warned! The competitors take this extreme sport seriously and you’ll need hi-tech gear (like the laser-guided pea shooter) to stand a chance on the field with these seasoned pea shooting veterans









 

7.  Roadkill Cook-off of the Autumn Harvest Festival


Where: Marlington, West Virginia, USA
When: September 26th

   Nobody panic! None of the entries in this harvest festival competition have any tire marks as they aren’t actually unfortunate outcomes of “Why did the chicken cross the road?” jokes. This competition utilizes wild game such as raccoon, possum, deer…basically any of Bambi’s friends that could be potential roadkill. Does that make it better?  No?  oh well… notables among the past wild game entries are “Spicy Venison, Buffalo & Sausage Stew”, “Pulled Bambi”, and Biscuits & Squirrel Gravy.






 


6.  Gilroy Garlic Festival

Where: Gilroy, California, USA
When: July 24-26th
   Gilroy is the unofficial Garlic Capital of the World and proudly shows off in this festival that attracts over 100,000 visitors annually that as a whole consume an estimated two and a half tons of garlic at the event. The official Gilroy Garlic Festival website claims to have used 72 tons of garlic in the twenty-nine years this festival has existed. Cooking demonstrations and lectures discuss traditional uses and health benefits but the innovative can always express their love for this pungent food in the Great Garlic Cook-off, which has had entries like garlic ice cream, garlic soft drinks and last year’s winner “Walnut-Garlic Tart with Garlic-Infused Cream and Chili Syrup”. Anyone need a Tic Tac?







 



5.  Waikiki Spam Jam

Where: Waikiki, Hawaii, USA
When: April 25th
   As an area with a scarce meat supply during WWII, this archipelago embraced the blue-canned pink meat and has now become Spam’s most loyal market. During this street festival, hula dancers perform while judges crown a Mr. and Miss Spam and Hawaii’s top chefs create new recipes celebrating the gelatinous meat product. Pedestrians get to sample everything from Spam Burgers to Spam Musubi (kind of like sushi but with spam instead of fish). This festival also serves a philanthropic purpose that benefits the Hawaii Food Bank, the largest non-profit in Hawaii that feeds the needy.










4.  Ivrea Orange Festival

Where: Ivrea, Italy
When: Last date: February 25-28th

   La Tomantina has already been mentioned in a previous lists,  but by no means is that the only fruit-throwing festival! The Ivrea Orange Festival originated from the 12th century when during parades and city celebrations, girls would throw oranges from their balconies to gain the attention of the boy they fancied. The boys began to reciprocate (no mention if the secret admiration was reciprocated but the oranges certainly were!) and this evolved into a messy rivalry between the balcony girls and the street boys. It wasn’t until WWII when the intricate citrus battle rules were finally laid out. It is free for anyone to participate by joining one of the nine teams on foot or become a member of the carriage crew.








 

3.  Carnival at Vilanova i La Geltrú (Candy Throwing Fight)


Where: Vilanova i La Geltrú, Spain
When: Fat Tuesday
   Originally a protest of the Franco regime’s Carnivale prohibition,  this annual festival is by far the sweetest food fight in the world! Celebrations begin on Fat Tuesday with the Meringue Wars, where bakeries open their stores and pass out free pie ammunition to children. The adults dress in the colors of their respective Carnival Society and attend parties and masquerades before joining the children in the streets in what becomes a sweet tooth free-for-all! Over 200,000 lbs of food has been donated to the food fight, ranging from pies to candy to cereal… It’s a dentist’s nightmare! The festival officially ends with the ceremonial burial of a sardine to mark the beginning of Lent and fasting.









 

2.  Olney Pancake Race

Where: Olney, England, UK
When: Pancake Day or Fat Tuesday

   At 11:55 am on Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day, aka Fat Tuesday), the local ladies assemble dressed in traditional housewife attire (including skirt, apron and scarf) and run 415 yards through the streets of Olney carrying a frying pan. The pancakes are tossed at the start of the race and the winner is must toss her pancake again at the finish. The race has been an Olney tradition since 1445 and in 1950, the competition expanded to include a friendly flapjack rivalry with the housewives and young women of Liberal, Kansas in the US. The ladies of Liberal won this past year’s race with a new record of 57.5 seconds








 

1.  Annual Yuma Lettuce Days

Where: Yuma, Arizona, USA
When: Last date: January 23-25th

   Yuma is known as ‘The Winter Lettuce Capital of the World".  Sounds silly, yes, but considering Yuma produces $1.5 billion of Arizona’s agriculture revenue and provides 90% of North America’s winter vegetables, it’s appropriate to respect the lettuce. Among the highlights of this Veggie Fair are the Lettuce sculptures, Cabbage Bowling, Homegrown Cooking Contest and the "World’s Largest Salad".

12 AMERICAN TOWNS WITH UNUSUAL CLAIMS TO FAME!!

  There may not be an official registry (or even an unofficial one), but that doesn't stop towns, states and countries across the globe from declaring themselves the "Capital of the World" for thing or another.
   Some self-proclaimed titles are pretty well justified. Hawaii, for instance, is called the "Macadamia Nut Capital of the World." Considering the Aloha State is said to grow 90% of the world's supply, we think it's an apt description.
   Other claims are not so black and white. Biloxi, Mississippi is often referred to as the "Seafood Capital of the World," but so is Calabash, North Carolina and Crisfield, Maryland. Which place deserves the nickname most? We'll leave that up to seafood lovers to hash out.
   We take a look at 12 towns in the good ol' U.S.A. that have found a way to differentiate themselves by "capitalizing" on what makes them unique, and well, a little unusual.








 

The Lost Luggage Capital of the World
Scottsboro, Alabama


     Ever wonder what happens to all of the lost airline luggage that goes unclaimed? Much of it winds up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Even with today's advanced baggage tracking technology, .005% of all checked luggage is permanently lost. That may seem like a small amount but it translates into an average of 7,000 lost luggage items that the Unclaimed Baggage Center is able to buy each day. Since Scottsboro houses the only store in the county that sells unclaimed baggage and the store is the size of a city block, we think it is indeed the "Lost Luggage Capital of the World."












The Fire Hydrant Capital of the World
Albertville, Alabama


    Let's not leave Alabama just yet. Not before we take notice of another town's claim to fame: fire hydrants. Albertville owes its legacy to the Mueller Company, a leader in the manufacturing of fire hydrants. After the Albertville plant produced its one-millionth hydrant in 1989, Albertville was declared the "Hydrant Capital of the World." A polished nickel-plated hydrant on a pedestal was even erected outside of the Chamber of Commerce to commemorate the occasion.












The Rolle Bolle Capital of the World
Ghent, Minnesota


      From Memorial Day to Labor Day, dozens of people take to the court next to the Silver Dollar Bar in Ghent, Minnesota to play Rolle Bolle. Pronounced "rollie bollie", this Belgian game gives a nod to horseshoes, bowling and bocce ball. The point of the game is to roll a small wheel closest to a stake at the other end of the court. If you wanted to try your hand at this outdoor game, you likely won't be able to purchase a set at your local sporting goods store. The little-known pastime is only played in a handful of places in the U.S. For more on this small (population: 300-or-so) town's sport of choice.







 


The Fruitcake Capital of the World
Claxton, Georgia

    Claxton was incorporated in 1911 and named for Kate Claxton (1878-1924), a popular actress at the time. However, today, it has another passion: fruitcake. Home to both the Claxton Bakery and the Georgia Fruitcake Company, each year millions of pounds of fruitcake are produced and shipped worldwide from this small community in Georgia. Texas residents, however, have their own "fruitcake" bragging rights. Located in the city of Corsicana, the Collin Street Bakery has been making it's world-famous DeLuxe Fruitcake since 1896.










 

The Cowboy Capital of the World
Bandera, Texas


    According to the Bandera County Convention and Visitor's Bureau web site, "Bandera embodies the cowboy in its strong rodeo tradition. Even today you'll often see horses tied to downtown hitching posts. Bandera County dude ranches offer a taste of the cowboy lifestyle with horseback riding, trail rides, and chuckwagon meals. Secluded cabins tucked away in the hills throughout the county are perfect for watching wildlife, listening to the birds, and gazing at the stars. At local honky-tonks, the music is lively, the dance floor is full, and the beverages are cold." Enough said.







 


The Honeymoon Capital of the World
Niagara Falls

    Yes, we know it's not completely American -- half of the Falls are Canadian -- but we decided to keep this pick on our list anyway. The destination's reputation as the "Honeymoon Capital of the World" dates back to the early 1900s, when that phrase began to be used in brochures and advertising. Today, the American side of Niagara Falls welcomes more than two million visitors each year, with approximately 90,000 being newlyweds and honeymooners from around the world. Tens of thousands more head to the other side of the falls, where many pick up their Official City of Niagara Falls Honeymoon Certificate.










Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World
Beaver, Oklahoma


    Cow chips (a.k.a. dried cow dung) were an integral part of the pioneer experience. Settlers relied on them as fuel to cook food and heat their homes. Each fall, families would take their wagons to the pasture and load up on cow chips for the coming winter. Family members soon began competing against each other to see who could toss the chips into the wagon with the most accuracy. Fast forward to 1970 and the Town of Beaver turned that storied pastime into an actual sport and now bears the title "Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World." Home to the annual World Championship Cow Chip Throw, people travel from all around the globe to see and even participate in the Cow Chip throwing contest, held the third weekend of April in Beaver, each year.









 

The Halloween Capital of the World
Anoka, Minnesota

   According to Anoka: The Halloween Capital of the World web site, "Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, their windows soaped and their outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done." So, in 1920 civic leaders suggested the idea of a giant celebration including a parade of costumed children. The town's love affair with the October holiday has been going strong ever since. Each year, multiple festivities take place during the week leading up to the big day.









 
The Jell-O Capital of the World
Le Roy, New York


   Located in upstate New York, this picturesque village is known as much for its tree-lined streets and stately Victorian homes as it is for being the birthplace of "America's most famous dessert." In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in Le Roy experimented with gelatin and came up with a fruit-flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O. He tried to market his product but he lacked the capital and the experience. In 1899, he sold his formula to a fellow townsman for the sum of $450. Jello-O would go on to become one of Le Roy's most important industries. Jell-O devotees who want to make a pilgrimage to Le Roy, can visit the Jell-O Gallery museum and see everything from memorabilia to past commercials.





 
 
 


The Earmuff Capital of the World
Farmington, Maine

    It is said that Chester Greenwood's ears turned "chalky white, beet red and deep blue" in the cold. It was this annoyance that motivated a 15-year-old Farmington boy to invent earmuffs. He called his contraption "The Greenwood Champion Ear Protector" and it proved an instant hit. Three years and a couple of improvements later, the United States Patent Office awarded him a patent. It was 1877 and Greenwood was only 18-years-old. He soon established a factory and by 1883, he was producing 30,000 muffs a year. Thus Farmington became known as the Earmuff Capital of the World. If you're in the area, there is a parade that celebrates Greenwood's birthday the first Saturday in December where you can see local police cruisers in the parade decorated as giant earmuffs.








 

The Carpet Capital of the World
Dalton, Georgia


   The Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau puts it this way: "Dalton, Georgia is known as the "Carpet Capital of the World," and for good reason. More than 90% of the functional carpet produced in the world today is made within a 65-mile radius of the city. " The carpet and rug industry is the economic engine that drives this Northwest Georgia area, with nearly two billion square yards of carpet shipped annually. If you're in the market for floor covering, it's also home (not surprisingly) to a large number of carpet outlets.









 


Ice Cream Capital of the World
Le Mars, Iowa   

Designated the "Ice Cream Capital of the World" in 1994 by the Iowa General Assembly, Le Mars is home to ice cream maker Blue Bunny. "Today, more ice cream is produced in Le Mars by a single company than in any other city in the world!," the town's web site boasts. The town is also home to an ice cream museum, an almost 10-foot-tall ice cream sundae statue, a replica of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and dozens of street banners bearing ice cream cones


8 CRAZY CHAMPIONSHIPS AROUND THE WORLD!!




 

   We have all heard of unusual championships, such as caber tossing – but I am certain that almost no one will have heard of the six bizarre championships listed here. This is a great opportunity for us all to learn about other people’s interests, and to maybe consider entering ourselves next year!




 



 


8.  Pig Squealing Contest

   In Trie-sur-baise, France, a pig squealing contest is held every year. The contest involves standing before a microphone and squealing like a pig. Besides the pig-squealing, there were awards in the Sunday competition for pigging out — this year’s winner ate nearly 4 feet of blood sausage in under five minutes. I am very pleased to be able to present a youtube clip from the contest – but unfortunately the person who added the clip to youtube doesn’t seem to want people to share it easily – so you must



 






7.  Gumboot Throwing Festival

   Every year in the small New Zealand town of Taihape, the residents and visitors have a gumboot throwing contest. The aim of the festival is to break the world record for the longest gumboot throw. It is a real fun family event, which includes a number of other competitions like the best-dressed gumboot and "shoot the loop" with gumboots. Gumboots can also be tossed skyward on any day of the year in the official Gumboot throwing lane located in the "Outback", just behind the main shopping centre. The festival takes place on “Gumboot Day”. There is even a kiwi folk song based on gumboots – it is called The Gumboot Song.








 

6.  Air Guitar Championships

    The Air Guitar Championships started in Finland in 1996. In these championships the contestants pretend to play electric guitar solos. There are two rounds in this contest. In the first round, the participant chooses his or her favorite song and plays that song in the edited 60-second format. In the second round, the contestant has to play a song chosen by the organizers.









 

5.  Extreme Ironing World Championships

   The Extreme Ironing World Championships started in Leicester, UK in 1997. This is an exciting and dangerous sport. Anyone who would like to participate should be ready for ironing a few items of laundry, preferably on a difficult climb of a mountainside, ice or under water. Anybody from any part of the world can participate.










 
4.  World Beard and Mustache Championships

   The first World Beard and Moustache Championships took place in Höfen-Enz, Germany, in 1991. The contestants have long, highly-styled facial hair like moustache and beard. Last time these championships were held in Brighton, England in 2007.  This time they will be held in Alaska on 23rd May, 2009.












3.  Wife Carrying Championships

   The Wife Carrying Championship is held in Sonkajrvi, Finland every July. To enter this contest, every man must come with a wife (not necessarily his own) who is at least 17 years old and weighs at least 49 Kilograms. If she is less than 49 kilograms, he must add additional weights up to the prescribed weight. He must reach the destination by crossing sand, grass and asphalt. If he drops his wife, he loses 15 points. The winner is awarded with his wife’s weight in beer.












2.  World Pillow Fighting Championship

   The World Pillow Championship is held in July in Kenwood, California. In this championship each contestant holds a wet feather pillow in one hand and slither along the slippery wet pole (suspended over a pit of mud) to the starting positions. There are certain rules in this contest: the contestants’ hands cannot touch the pole and they cannot use their feet to unseat their opponents. Each contestant must swing the pillow with one or both hands for every 30 seconds until they manage to topple their opponents into the mud.










1.  World Sauna Championships

   The World Sauna Championship takes place in Heinola, Finland every August. This championship was started in 1999. The competitors must sit in a 110° sauna and half a liter of water is added every 30 seconds. They must sit erect with their thighs and buttocks on the seat. They cannot touch any surface with their hands and forearms have to be in an upright position and must stay on their knees. The person who sits longest is the winner.