Food that elevates your mood by just thinking about it is chocolate, of course. Chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, also known as happiness hormones, in our body. A single piece of chocolate supposedly contains the same amount of antioxidants as a glass of red wine. This goes for high quality dark chocolate that has a high percentage of cocoa (over 70%).
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the seeds of the cocoa tree (lat. Theobroma cacao or food of the gods). Its history can be traced back thousands of years to the Mayans, an ancient people of Central America. It was Christopher Columbus who first spread the word about chocolate in Europe. In gastronomy, it is usually used to make sweets, but due to its peculiar taste dark chocolate is an excellent complement to salty dishes.
Due to its maritime and merchant history, Rijeka’s connection with chocolate does not stop at mere consumption. As early as 1896, the first chocolate and cocoa factory was opened in Rijeka. It was the first of its kind in this part of Europe and it produced various chocolate treats until the end of World War II when it was closed down. Lest this sweet part of Rijeka’s history be forgotten, a local souvenir was designed - chocolates and pralines from Rijeka - which unlike other souvenirs most certainly will not collect dust, if it even makes it to your house, that is!