Chocolate and mint, while it may seem like an unusual combination, has many benefits–not the least of which is its amazing taste! However, many health benefits are also known to come from joining these two tasty treats together.
Not only does chocolate help produce serotonin and dopamine, but the combination of that with mint also makes it an overall healthier candy. That’s because mint is a powerful and aromatic herb that aids in digestion and freshens the breath.
While it might be surprising that combining an herb that grows so prolifically, with the product of the cacao bean, is so yummy–somehow it just works. So, to celebrate this unique combination, today is National Chocolate Mint Day!
History of National Chocolate Mint Day
The ancient Greeks and Romans valued mint for its ability to aid in digestion, freshen one’s breath, it’s ability to be used in many different kinds of foods. However, mint-flavored chocolates didn’t occur until the late 19th century when solid chocolate was being manufactured as candy.
Mint combined with chocolate didn’t truly become a popular concept until York Peppermint Patties came to life. When Henry Kessler opened up the York Cone Company during the 1920s, the company manufactured and produced ice cream cones. The world still had to wait a couple of decades until York began to specialize in the mint concoction it is known for today,
It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the ultimate blend of mint and chocolate, the York Peppermint Patty, was created. Mint and chocolate had already existed during this time, but York’s development made the combination a classic–and a popular one at that!
Today, the York Cone Company is now owned by Hershey, and Hershey provides a wide variety of York peppermint patties, with options such as sugar-free, chocolate truffle mints, York peppermint bites, and all kinds of shapes for the various holidays throughout the year.
Even though York may have been the first to become popular for the mix of mint chocolates, others weren’t far behind. In fact, some sources reveal that Huyler’s in New York was one of the first candy companies to mass produce chocolate mint candies.
Now, the combination of mint and chocolate and mint has become a classic – National Chocolate Mint Day, sponsored by the US National Confectioners Association, is celebrated every year through various activities, mostly with people buying their favorite brand mint chocolate and eating to their heart’s delight.
How to celebrate National Chocolate Mint Day
Celebrating this day is a privilege that most people can really get behind and enjoy! Think about these suggestions for celebrating chocolate mint day, or come up with some other creative ideas:
Get Creative with Chocolate Mint Recipes
Chocolate Mint goodies don’t have to be confined to just those available at the store. Celebrate National Chocolate Mint Day by crafting a wide variety of recipes at home using fresh mint oil and gourmet cocoa powder. Finding a recipe online and trying it out for yourself can be a fun experience overall. However, you can make this experience an even more fun one if you host a party and dedicate the entire day towards making mint chocolates.
In addition to just making chocolate mint candies, the combination of chocolate and mint can be used to upgrade a wide variety of sweet recipes, including cakes, cookies, brownies, and the highly favored mint chocolate chip ice cream. Of course, if the timing is right, the world-famous Thin Mint Cookies offered by Girl Scouts are certainly a treat that can inspire or be added to tons of different yummy recipes.
Add Mint to Beverages
Start in the morning by asking the barista at a local coffee shop to create a luscious chocolate mint mocha in lieu of that typical morning cup-o-joe.
For an afternoon pick-me-up, try adding a bit of mint to a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Simply drop a red-and-white mint in the bottom and stir. This can also be a great way to use up some of those leftover peppermint candy canes from Christmas.
When evening comes around, it’s fun for adults to try a chocolate mint alcoholic concoction that will taste like drinking a dessert! Sometimes called a Grasshopper, the drink recipe typically uses creme de menthe, creme de cacao and light cream. Some recipes take advantage of Bailey’s Irish Cream and add whipped cream, just for fun. Of course, to top it off, this drink can be garnished with a fresh mint sprig, a peppermint candy, or a sprinkling of cocoa.
Taste Test Chocolate Mint Candies
If making and sharing mint chocolate delicacies seems like too much trouble, it’s easy to simply go out to a local grocery store and purchase some favorite brands of chocolate mint to enjoy in celebration. Then, have a taste test to see which version is the best. In addition to York Peppermint Patties, consider these options:
- Aero (UK brand)
- After Eight Mints (UK Brand)
- Andes Chocolate Mints (American Brand)
- Junior Mints (American Brand)
- Lindt Mint Intense (Swiss Brand)
- M&Ms Mint (American Brand)
Celebrate at Work
An excellent idea to make your co-workers happy is to give out some York patties or other chocolate mint treats at your workplace, and tell people about why you love this day. Those who are a little more adventurous can make their favorite mint chocolate brownies or other recipe and bring them to work to share. For an after work cocktail hour, consider trying out the Grasshopper recipes mentioned above.