Many manufacturers include nuts in their chocolate, which can provide crunch and an extra hint of flavor. Pecans, walnuts and almonds are some of the most common nuts found in everything from chocolate bark to mini brownies, but how much do you know about what you're biting into? These nuts come from various parts of the world and are harvested carefully in order to create the flavor that complements the chocolate we eat.
The Delectable History of Pecans
This nut, which is proudly used in a number of desserts in the south, has made it big in the world of chocolate. The National Pecan Shellers Association reports that the origins of pecans can be traced back as far as the 16th century. Most experts agree that the pecan likely developed and thrived in North America.
Spanish colonists in the U.S. were the first to plant and harvest pecans, which were then used in everything from chocolate to dessert dishes. The pecan industry was born around the 1700s in the southern region of the country where manufacturers began to sell them widely to the public. Today, pecans are grown and manufactured in many areas in the U.S., and they are used in a variety of ways.
The Extensive Past of Walnuts
You might think that pecans are an old nut judging by their history, but one variety that is commonly used in chocolate has even older origins - the walnut. Walnuts date back as far as 7000 B.C., according to the California Walnut Commission. Experts say that the nut originated in Persia and was widely used by the Romans.
As time progressed, walnuts became one of the most popular nuts in Europe. Because of its hard shell, it was easy to transport and preserve over time. Walnuts have become a staple in everything from brownies to boxes of chocolate.
The Tasty Origins of Almonds
Many people who like adding crunch to their chocolate without altering the flavor choose to use almonds. This nut has a subtle taste, making it an ideal garnish.
Similar to walnuts, almonds have an extensive history that dates back to approximately 1400 B.C., according to the Almond Board of California. The Romans were fans of almonds and used them as a fertility charm. By the 20th century, crossbreeds were being developed to enhance the taste and make them the perfect additive to a number of dishes and foods, including chocolate!