There are a number of dates throughout the year promoting variations of local, national or international World Chocolate Day – our research leads us to believe that this is the true, definitive, purist ‘World Chocolate Day‘, so celebrate with some of the high cocoa, rich, dark chocolate that makes you go tingly inside.
World Chocolate Day is nothing short of a special tribute to mankind’s greatest culinary invention. (Sorry Bread or even Pizza!) Chocolate can enhance and help to create the most luxurious desserts and can even be enjoyed and indulged on its own. Some of the most popular chocolate bars are plain and simple. If this is the one for you, try going for a high cocoa percentage with low added sugar.
The History Of World Chocolate Day
The history of chocolate goes back around 2,500 years. The Aztecs loved their newly discovered liquid chocolate to the extent that they believed the god of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl, literally bestowed it upon them. Cocoa seeds even acted as a form of currency. Could you imagine going shopping or buying a house will a huge pile of Cocoa seeds? It would be wonderful, no? These days, the chocolate was bitter, as it was long before sugar was added. Once chocolate took a turn and went sweet in a 16th Century Europe, chocolate caught on to the masses and became one of many households favorite treats.
Many present-day chocolate companies began operations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cadbury began in England by 1868. And then 25 years later Milton S. Hershey, purchased chocolate processing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he is now one of the biggest and world-known chocolate creators in the world. He began the company by producing chocolate-coated caramels. Nestlé began back in the 1860s and has grown into one of the largest food conglomerates in the world. You’re bound to of heard of one of these if not all of them. Perhaps you even enjoy a bar or two or their fine chocolate creations at home.
World Chocolate Day Timeline
Beginning of Human History
Cacao Trees (the cocoa bean plant) may have been growing in the wild for 10,000 years or more.
300 BC – 500 AD
Cacao Adopted into the Mayan Culture
Mayan culture is developed in Central America and the cacao tree becomes part of that culture. The origin of the English word “chocolate” probably began here. The word for “tree” in the Mayan language was cacahuaquchtl, and the word xocoatl, which literally means “bitter water”, was likely based on the drink made from the cacao bean.
Cacao Heads to South America
Mayans migrate south and take the cacao plants with them, beginning cultivated plantations. For many people during this time, the cocoa pod was considered to be a religious symbol, sometimes referred to as ‘the food of the gods’.
Aztecs Drink Chocolate
The Azetcs learn about cacao plants from trade negotiations with the Mayans. They continue the tradition of making a chocolate drink, sometimes mixed with herbs and spices, such as chilli.
First American Chocolate Company
The first chocolate company in America opens, Baker’s Chocolate.
Solid Chocolate Appears
Chocolate in a solid form meant for eating is developed by British chocolate maker, J.S. Fry & Sons.
Chocolate Becomes Affordable
Milton Hershey begins selling the Hershey Bar, making chocolate affordable for the average person.
Designer Chocolate Develops
Chocolate becomes part of the trend toward fusion cuisine, pairing up with exotic spices such as curry, saffron, lemongrass, coffee beans and much more. Many people seek chocolate with a high percentage of cacao for its antioxidant health benefits.
How Is Chocolate Made?
Many people are unaware that chocolate is a fermented food. You heard that right, once the cacao pods are picked, and then cleaned of pithy white material from the fruit, they are dried and then the cacao beans are fermented. The cacao nibs are revealed once the papery shell is removed. This is where the fun and creativity come in.
Chocolatiers then grind the nibs into cocoa mass, separating them into cocoa solids and cocoa butter, they then combine them with milk and sugar. If they’re creating white chocolate then it’s just the chocolate butter with milk and sugar. It’s definitely worth celebrating this process, especially considering how much thought goes into getting it just right. Every Chocolatier has different methods and ideas that are all popular across the world.
As time has gone on, we have moved towards the indulgence of dark chocolate. It contains far less sugar and holds a higher percentage of cocoa. If you’re looking for the best dark chocolate it’s worth checking out the ones you find from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Ecuador. They have ideal climates for cocoa trees and they are known for producing some of the best chocolate. It certainly sounds good! When you purchase chocolate from these regions it’s always best to make sure it’s “fair trade chocolate,” this means you are helping to help make cocoa farming more sustainable. It’s certainly something to keep in mind!
How to celebrate World Chocolate Day
Although some would love to celebrate this day every day, the chocolate day gives you the perfect opportunity to eat your favorites in ample portions. Do you really need any more of an excuse to over indulge? It’s definite harmless once in a while.
The chocolate flavor is most definitely a favorite right throughout the world. It flavors cakes, breakfast cereal, toppings, desserts, candies, ice creams, and much more. Considering its popularity, it certainly deserves a day of honor.
We don’t need to tell you what to do to celebrate this day, do we? Eat Chocolate! Some ways you can incorporate chocolate into this chocolate day include:
Breakfast: How about your favorite chocolate cereal along with a few chocolate filled donuts and wash it down with a little hot chocolate or chocolate milkshake. Or maybe chocolate chip pancakes are more to your taste?
Mid-morning snack: A chocolate candy bar with your filled with your favorite goodies. There are certainly a lot of options to choose from now!
Lunch: If you skipped on the shake fro breakfast then a big tall glass of chocolate milk is a must at lunch! Oh, and don’t forget your dessert, how about a pie of chocolate pie or cheesecake?
Mid-Afternoon: Maybe try to be a little healthier with chocolate-covered strawberries or raisins? Ok, maybe not that healthy but at least t contains fruit!
Dinner: Adults this is your time to sip on that chocolate liqueur before you sit down for dinner. You could have a chocolate flavored coffee with a piece of chocolate cake for afters.
Nighttime snack: If you’re not already chocolate out, why not opt for a few chocolate mints or biscuits with a glass of ice-cold milk?
So, Why Do We Love Chocolate So Much?
Chocolate is certainly of the world’s favorite flavors, if not the most loved taste across 7 continents. Often referred to as the magic bean, it definitely deserves to be celebrated. Everyone loves it, and the recipes that come with it are nothing less than amazing!
You don’t need to be told to indulge in this treat, as and when you want, however, the chocolate day most definitely gives us a special day to indulge in the rich, creamy glory that is chocolate. You will find many bakeries, individuals, and candy stores joining in on the celebrations and you can expect to find some delicious recipes, from meringue pies, milk chocolate pudding through to giant decorative cakes in shop windows you are sure to find something to tickle your fancy.
Why not get the cookbook out of the cupboard, scour the internet for some ideas and get yourself in the chocolate day spirit, baking and creating some wonderful chocolatey creations?
Or failing that, stock up on chocolate biscuits, ice-cream, and enjoy a day of secret treats and indulgence…