World Chocolate Day

Next Sunday, 7 July 2024

World Chocolate Day is celebrated on July 7th to celebrate the wonderful creation-chocolates. 

Chocolate lovers across the world come together to celebrate World Chocolate Day, as this is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself and your loved ones to the rich, creamy goodness that has conquered hearts and delighted taste buds for centuries.

Chocolate is such a favorite and heartfelt treat to people that there are several days attributed to celebrate this wonder. 

U.S. observes National Chocolate Day on October 28 but according to the U.S. National Confectioners Association, the birthday of Milton S. Hershey, September 13 is International Chocolate Day.

Chocolate Day is celebrated on February 14 in Ghana which is the second largest producer of Cocoa and Latvia celebrates it on July 11.  

However, the U.S. National Confectioners Association acknowledges four main chocolate days:

  • World Chocolate Day-July 7,
  • National Chocolate Day-October 28 
  • International Chocolate Day-September 13. 

Other variations like National Milk Chocolate Day, National White Chocolate Day and National Cocoa Day are also observed. 

The story of World Chocolate Day goes back to 2009 when it was first observed. However, there is no clear reference as to who started it and why. 

Photo Of Chocolate Bars On Ceramic Plate

History of Chocolates

Chocolates have a quite rich and diverse history that traces back to over 5,300 years ago, when the Mayo-Chinchipe culture first domesticated cocoa beans in southeast Ecuador. It slowly spread to Mesoamerica from there. 

As far as history goes, records show that chocolate has been consumed as a drink, with evidence of its preparation going back to 1750 BCE in Mokaya and Olmec archaeological sites in Mexico. The white pulp surrounding the cocoa beans were probably used to ferment alcoholic beverages. 

The Maya were drinking chocolate by 400 CE, as the vessels discovered in the tombs were found with residue of cocoa. It is likely that cocoa were both the part of their daily lives and ceremonies, as they grew cacao trees in their backyards to prepare a drink that is bitter and frothy.

The Aztecs adopted chocolate and related with the god Quetzalcoatl by the 15th century and used it in rituals. However, the Aztecs drank chocolate as a cold beverage rather than warm like the Maya preferred. They also added spices like chili pepper and vanilla into it.

cocoa beans

Chocolates were also used as a currency as they were luxurious imports, and eventually it reached Europe in the 16th century after the Spanish found it in America.

Christopher Columbus and his crew came across cocoa beans first in 1502. Hernán Cortés and other Spanish conquerors later introduced chocolate to Spain, where it became a court favorite.

The Spanish used to add sugar and vanilla to it to neutralize the bitterness, and the consumption spread across Europe, becoming a popular beverage among the elites. 

During the period from 17th to 18th century, chocolates gained popularity as a nutritious food, and its production required a significant amount of manpower, which primarily relied on slave labor on plantations. 

The production of cocoa improved significantly in the 18th and 19th century, thanks to tech innovations like water-powered mills and other things like Dutch cocoa. 

The first moldable chocolate bar was made by mixing cocoa powder, melted cocoa butter and sugar by Joseph Fry in 1847. 

broken chocolate bars

Milk chocolate was made by Daniel Peter in 1875 by adding powdered milk to cocoa, and Rudolphe Lindt improved the texture and taste of chocolates in 1879 with the help of conching machine. 

Popular companies like Cadbury, Rowntree's and Hershey's were founded in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. They introduced popular treats like the chocolate Easter egg and chocolate-coated caramels, which made chocolate a beloved treat worldwide.

How To Celebrate Chocolate Day

The most obvious way of celebrating chocolate day is by indulging and in your favorite chocolate or chocolate treats. You can also gift an assortment of different chocolates to your loved ones. 

If you have some time in your hand, you can explore new flavors, new brands and even visit a chocolatier or gourmet shop to make the experience even more special. You can also try whipping up your own batch of chocolate. 

Many cafés and stores also offer special discount on chocolates or chocolate related treats on this day, so make sure to explore the possibility. 

Set of delicious sweet deserts in box

Fun Facts About Chocolates

  • Theobroma cacao is the scientific name for Cacao that directly translates to “food of the gods” in Greek.
  • Cacao beans were so valuable to the Aztecs that they were used as currency.
  • Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
  • Chocolate contains compounds like theobromine and phenylethylamine, which enhance mood and create feelings of happiness.
  • Chocolate melts at around 93 °F (ca. 34 °C), just below human body temperature, which is why it melts so smoothly in your mouth.
  • Despite its name, white chocolate is not technically chocolate because it doesn't contain cocoa solids.
  • The record for the world's largest chocolate bar weighs over 12,000 pounds (ca. 5,443 kg).

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