Image provided by Cole Saladino from The Thrillist.
Everyone knows chocolate, and if you don’t then you’re lying because chocolate is everywhere. It’s an extremely common food that is widely known for being sweet and fun to eat wherever, whenever. But if you look up the definition, you usually won’t find the word ‘candy’ used. When you search up the definition of candy, it does include chocolate, but not in the way you might think. The definition states that candy is “a sweet food made with sugar or other sweeteners, typically formed in small, shaped pieces and flavored with chocolate, fruit, or nuts.” Although this explanation does include chocolate, it doesn’t state that chocolate is a candy. It’s more like chocolate is included in candy, but chocolate isn’t candy itself, like how nuts are a part of candy sometimes but aren’t considered candy itself. So then does chocolate fit into the candy category or does it deserve a section of its own? There are many valid arguments surrounding this fun and sometimes heated debate, but for the sake of my sanity I will give my own perspective and reasonings for my deserved grade of an A.
Chocolate is a candy. Sometimes. It is made out of cacao beans, and sugar is usually added. The cacao beans create the distinct flavor of chocolate, and sugar makes it taste sweet. Chocolate can be served as a dessert, a side dish, and as a small snack on the go. The bottom line is that chocolate is amazing and when it’s sweet, it can definitely be considered a candy. The definition of candy states that it is any sweet food, which means sweetened chocolate is automatically considered a part of this category. Besides, chocolate is always associated with candy, from being in the same aisles in stores to being grouped together when being given out for Halloween trick or treating or as Christmas presents.
BUT chocolate is also not candy. Shocking! If you were paying attention to the ingredients of chocolate, then you would already know that cacao beans are part of the recipe. Chocolate was first created with cacao beans by the Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America. The first cacao plants were found in ancient Mesoamerica or present day Mexico. However, cacao beans are not sweet. The whole reason that the chocolate everyone knows today is sweet is solely because of sugar. If you take out the sugar, the chocolate tastes bitter. When has candy ever been bitter? Never! Sure there’s sour candy but there’s still sweeteners added into it. Dark chocolate can sometimes have absolutely no sweetness, therefore excluding it from the candy category. Take away one ingredient used with chocolate and you get a product that’s completely different from the definition of candy. Call it food for thought.
In reality, chocolate can fit into many different categories. It could most definitely be considered a fruit, if you want to base its categorization off of ingredients. Cacao beans are considered nuts, and nuts are considered fruits. Therefore, chocolate is technically fruit based and you all are just in denial and used to society shaping your views on the world so you don’t have to. Anyway! Chocolate has been used as dipping sauce for strawberries countless times, but strawberries being dipped into a Skittles fountain has never been seen before, ever. That would be a crime. Yes, you have caramel dipped apples, but it’s merely an exception as there hasn’t been any other candy used as dipping sauce. Additionally chocolate can be a flavor for many things, such as chocolate ice cream. However candy is usually limited to being an add on, like in gingerbread houses and cake.
To conclude my thoughts on this dispute, maybe chocolate isn’t candy or part of another category. Maybe chocolate is so special that it defies all categories. Maybe chocolate doesn’t even need a category because even before it was considered a part of some specific group, it was still known as chocolate, with all its glory. If you wanted me to give you my final answer on this argument, then you’re in luck because there’s only one right answer to this whole debate. Chocolate is a vegetable.