While there may be a few people in the world who don’t like chocolate, for most of the world chocolate is considered to be a delicious treat. And for some people, chocolate may even be considered an obsession.
International Chocolate Day was created to learn about, celebrate and enjoy everything that has to do with chocolate!
History of International Chocolate Day
Chocolate plants have probably been on earth since the dawn of history. But it wasn’t until around 4000 years ago that the Olmec people of Mesoamerica (present day Mexico) began turning cocoa beans into a beverage. At the time, drinking chocolate was a rather rare and special delicacy that was used in cultural rituals as well as for medicinal purposes.
When the Aztecs and Mayans got involved with it years later, cocoa beans eventually were cultivated and used as valuable currency for trading. Mayans even referred to chocolate as a “drink from the gods”, and the Aztecs considered it to be an important way to prepare for war as well as using it as an aphrodisiac.
Around the 16th century, chocolate made its way to Europe, although the Spanish kept it a secret for quite some time. Eventually, “chocolate houses” (something like a pub but for chocolate) began popping up in Britain and the trend spread through Europe.
The invention of the chocolate press influenced chocolate making and made the possibility of solid chocolates more feasible. In addition, the Dutch process to make cocoa powder allowed chocolate to be more accessible to more people, other than just the rich or royals.
By the mid-to-late-1800s, chocolate companies began manufacturing chocolate bars in Europe. Nestle, J.S. Fry and Sons and Lindt companies were all started during this time. Later, other companies came along such as Hershey’s, Cadbury, Mars and more.
As the processes of making chocolate have been refined over the years and access to sugar and other ingredients has become easier, chocolate has become part of everyday life for many people.
Recipes that call for the ingredient might include chocolate candies, cakes, brownies, cookies, cupcakes and so much more. And it can be used in the form of cocoa powder or baking chocolate in dark, semi-sweet or milk chocolate versions.
International Chocolate Day is about paying heed to everything related to this delightful treat that is now part of cultures all over the world. Enjoy learning about and taking part in the celebration of this day!
International Chocolate Day Timeline
Cacao beans used in Mesoamerica
Ancient Olmec people in what is modern-day Mexico turn the beans into a chocolate drink and use it medicinally.
Mayan people begin cultivating cocoa
Understanding the great value of this plant, the Mayans begin growing cocoa beans on farms.
Aztecs use cocoa as currency
So precious were these beans, the Aztec people found them a convenient and valuable way to secure trade.
First milk chocolate hits the market
Daniel Peter introduces milk chocolate in Switzerland.
Hershey Chocolate Company is started
One of the most famous American chocolate companies, Hershey gets its start in Pennsylvania.
How to Celebrate International Chocolate Day
A favorite day of the year for many people, International Chocolate Day is certainly one that deserves celebrating. Consider some of these ideas for participating in and enjoying this day:
Enjoy Eating Some Chocolate
Whether it’s milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate, International Chocolate Day is the perfect time to enjoy taking part in this delicious treat. Grab a favorite type of chocolate bar, like Hershey’s, Nestle or Ghirardelli, or try out some new and special types of chocolate that are sourced from different parts of the world.
Another fun way to celebrate the day is to buy a huge box of chocolates and try out the different flavors. Whitman’s Samplers, Fannie May, Richart, Lindt and Godiva are just a few of the companies that make assorted boxes of chocolates. Read the list on the lid to find out what you are eating, or hide the list and make a guessing game out of finding out which flavor each chocolate is!
Host an International Chocolate Day Event
Whether it’s a setup in the breakroom with coworkers at the office or a party at home including neighbors and friends, International Chocolate Day is a great time to gather chocolate lovers together and pay heed to this worldwide sensation.
Featuring everything chocolate, this gathering can include creative snacks like a chocolate fountain, homemade chocolate brownies or chocolate ice cream sundaes. For activities, try a chocolate tasting table where guests can sample a variety of chocolates that are sourced from around the world. Perhaps include chocolates that contain higher or lower percentages of cocoa.
Enjoy Chocolate For All the Meals
Chocolate doesn’t have to be only for dessert! It can be used in savory meals as well. So, in honor of International Chocolate Day, in addition to having it for a snack or dessert, try including chocolate in meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Chocolate for breakfast can be an easy inclusion. Chocolate yogurt, chocolate smoothies, or chocolate cherry muffins can be on the menu. If the chocolate included in breakfast is dark chocolate, it can even work in a healthy manner to help to burn body fat and decrease blood sugar levels throughout the day!
For lunch and dinner, savory meals can be created that include chocolate. Certain recipes for chili (specially Cincinnati style chili) include shavings of dark chocolate and cinnamon flavors and it’s served on top of pastas. Mole sauce, which is a traditional Mexican dish, is made with chocolate and spices and used on meat dishes, tortillas, or enchiladas.
Salads make a great light lunch and many salad recipes can be adjusted to incorporate some chocolate. Try a spinach pear salad with chocolate vinaigrette or a baby spinach and strawberry salad with vidalia onions and cacao nibs.
Bake Something with Chocolate
Of course, the easiest time to incorporate chocolate into eating is for dessert. Try whipping up a basic brownie recipe, baking some pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough, or preparing some easy no-bake chocolate, peanut butter and oat cookies without even having to turn the oven on. International Chocolate Day is a great time to enjoy baking with this versatile ingredient.
Share Chocolate with Friends
As long as you are cooking or baking, why not go ahead and share with someone special in celebration of the day? Or, for those who don’t feel like baking, feel free to pop over to a local bakery or grocery store! Box up some chocolate cupcakes to give to the neighbors, pass out some chocolate muffins at work or simply get a big chocolate bar and share it with the family!
International Chocolate Day FAQs
Can chocolate kill dogs?
Some properties in chocolate can be toxic. It may be poisonous to dogs depending on their size and how much they consume.
Does chocolate cause constipation?
Chocolate can slow down the digestive process and is one of the worst causes of constipation.
Did chocolate come from the New World?
Yes, chocolate originated in the New World and was brought back to Spain in the 16th century.
Does chocolate have caffeine?
Chocolate does have caffeine. The darker the chocolate is, the higher the caffeine content is.
Does chocolate cause acne?
While there is no evidence that chocolate causes acne, some people find anecdotal evidence that their skin condition is negatively impacted.