Next International Chocolate DayWednesday, 13 September 2023
Get your sweet tooth ready because September 13 is International Chocolate Day! Whether you prefer your chocolate dark, milk, or white, with or without nuts, there is barely anyone who can resist its flavor. While no one needs an excuse to enjoy some chocolate, today is the perfect day to indulge in your favorite chocolate delicacy without any guilt.
Because chocolate is so loved around the world, there couldn't just be one date to celebrate it. There is International Chocolate Day on September 13, World Chocolate Day on July 7, and two National Chocolate Days on October 28 and December 28!
While the origins of this holiday are unclear, the National Confectioners Association commemorates International Chocolate Day on September 18 as it coincides with the birthday of the founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, Milton S. Hershey.
Chocolate comes from the bean of the Theobroma Cacao tree, which grows in Central America, Mexico, and the north of South America. It has been cultivated for thousands of years, and cacao seeds have been used and consumed since as early as 1100 BC and played a big role in the Aztec and Mayan cultures. The Aztecs used to grind and drink the chocolate beans without any sugar, and believed that cacao was a gift from the gods.
Cocoa beans were first brought from the Americas into Europe around 1550, where they were combined with milk and sugar to make a very popular drink, chocolate. In 1780 the United States built its first factory to make and distribute the new chocolate drink, but it was not until 1842 that chocolate bars began to be produced by Cadbury in England.
Milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland in 1875, and it inspired a young Milton S. Hershey to manufacture and sell his milk chocolates. Thus, the Hershey's Chocolate Company was founded, and the first Hershey milk bar was produced in 1900. The famous Hershey's Kiss was invented in 1907.
Since then, the manufacturing of chocolate has constantly evolved, and today we have hundreds of different candy bars, and all kinds of chocolate bars with different fillings, gourmet chocolate, bonbons, chocolate truffles, and so on. The possibilities of what you can make with chocolate are also endless, from cakes and brownies to mousses, cookies, fudge, milkshakes, and ice cream. That is probably why Americans consume an extraordinary 3 billion pounds of chocolate every year.
The most popular Chocolate bars
Surveys show just how much chocolate Americans buy in a year, and it is a lot! In 2020 a national consumer survey asked Americans 'Which brands of chocolate and other candy do you eat most often?' and calculated the most popular chocolate bars in the US, the results were:
Snickers, made by Mars, Inc. 48,060,000 Americans had a Snickers in 2020.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, made by The Hershey Company. Eaten by 42,860,000 people in 2020.
Hershey's Kisses, made by The Hershey Company. In 2020 they were enjoyed by 42,580,000 people.
Kit Kat, owned by Nestlé. Eaten by 41,450,000 people in 2020.
Peanut M&M's, made by Mars, Inc. 40,360,000 Americans ate them in 2020.
The benefits of eating Chocolate
While many people associate chocolate with something that is unhealthy, there are many benefits to having a moderate amount of dark chocolate every day. Dark chocolate has many antioxidants, which help with your heart and circulation, reducing the risk of strokes, and it also reduces cholesterol and regulates your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If this wasn't enough, dark chocolate has been proven to improve your mood, by releasing endorphins when you eat it.
What to do on International Chocolate Day
The most obvious way to celebrate this day is with chocolate.
Think of your favorite way to consume chocolate - whether you prefer the classic bar, like it more as a smooth hot chocolate, or love baking some chocolate brownies - and enjoy it!
Many different recipes use chocolate. Find one that sounds good to you, and try something different!