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The superiority of chocolate (hot chocolate), both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.

Thomas Jefferson

It is a little bit sad to say that President Jefferson didn’t quite hit the mark on this one, but many people can agree that he should have! Perhaps he should have included it in the American constitution to ensure that his good sense got passed on to the country he formed. It’s not too late to make this statement become true!

National Cocoa Day reminds everyone that their options go far beyond “Tea or Coffee” when it comes to that morning hot beverage. So get ready to spend time enjoying National Cocoa Day at its finest!

History of National Cocoa Day

Chocolate’s history goes far back into ancient times, much further back than most people are aware. It may have been part of the Aztec culture as early as 1400 AD. Chocolate itself first was found by European explorers in South America, where it had been enjoyed for hundreds of years even prior to their arrival.

Researchers have reason to believe that the reason the Americans didn’t make contact with Europe sooner is they didn’t want to share this delightful beverage with the rest of the world. Of course, that may be an exaggeration….

The first origins of cocoa being made into a drink can be traced back to 500 BC. However, many archaeologists believe that this is only as early as they can trace it and that cocoa consumption predates even that august culture.

Of course, the chocolate of those days would have been much different than that which is now consumed, as sugar was not something that had yet found its way to the Americas. Instead, the beverage was probably flavored with vanilla and often with chili and was served at all temperatures, depending on the recipe being used.

Not everyone is a fan of cocoa at first taste. In fact, the Spaniards first found the flavor of cocoa unpleasant and one that an individual had to acquire. It would not be until it was introduced to Europe and had spent some time there as a luxury drink of the wealthy that it would be sweetened and milk chocolate would be invented.

It took until 1828 for powdered chocolate to be made, and in that glorious moment of culinary history, both the chocolate bar and instant hot cocoa came into existence.

Even then, it wasn’t for more than a hundred more years that powdered hot cocoa drinks that could be mixed in the cup came to be. In the 1950s and 1960s, Charles Sanna produced the product (tested on his children) that would later become Swiss Miss.

How To Celebrate National Cocoa Day

It’s time to start celebrating the beauty and enjoyment of National Cocoa Day. Get started with some of the ideas listed below or come up with some creative ideas of your own to observe this most important day:

Enjoy a Cup of Hot Cocoa

Of course, the first item on the agenda for the day is to settle down with a warm cup of cocoa and savor the sweet, delicious flavor. Some people like to keep it simple and classic. However, other people might think that the best way to celebrate National Cocoa Day is to try every variety it’s possible to think of! In that case, it’s certainly permissible to get a little creative by adding a peppermint stick, some red hot candies, salted caramel sauce, or (for the adults in the room) even a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur.

Go Out for Hot Cocoa

It’s true, not every cafe serves hot cocoa–but the best ones sure do! Get a group of friends or family members together, or head out on your own to enjoy a tasty cup of hot cocoa from one of these well-known establishments:

  • Starbucks
    While there may be some questions by coffee connoisseurs about the quality of this company’s coffee, no one can question that their hot cocoa drinks are purely delicious! Made from fresh milk and cocoa, and real vanilla extract, there’s no mixing up a powdered drink for this chain that is known all over the world.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
    People come to Dunkin’ for the donuts and coffee, but the hot chocolate is worth staying for. Their salted caramel hot cocoa with whipped cream is absolutely divine. And easy to get on the go.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate World
    It stands to reason that Hershey’s would know its way around a cup of hot cocoa. And a Chocolate World in either Hershey, PA or Times Square, New York, guests can enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate while experiencing the best of America’s iconic chocolate.
  • The Old Chocolate House in Bruges, Belgium
    Those who are looking to make a complete trip out of the hunt for the best hot cocoa may end up in Europe. Hot chocolates here come in a variety of milk, dark, white and single-origin. And for the grown-ups, try tastes like rum, amaretto, Grand Mariner, or Bailey’s.

Host a National Cocoa Day Gathering

Form a gathering of friends and have everyone bring their favorite recipe and all their favorite varieties. White and Dark, Milk and Bittersweet, there are as many different Hot Cocoa recipes as there are individuals!

One favorite is to make Hot Cocoa with 50/50 Milk and Sweetened Condensed milk and Dark Powdered Chocolate, followed by a sprinkling of cinnamon and shavings of dark chocolate on top. Rich and flavorful, it’s not for the timid!

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