National Chocolate Day:
October 28, save the date! For it’s the National Chocolate Day! A day to indulge in the rich silkiness of chocolate and collect your due on that warm hug that only eating chocolate could deliver.
Related: Other National Days Celebrated on October 29th:
Why National Chocolate Day?
Annually celebrated on this day of October, National Chocolate Day revels in all things that are chocolate.
A day devoted to a sinful treat like chocolate would be to let go of our inhibitions and binge on all thing’s chocolate. Why else! If you are too thinking along the same line, then you are partially correct. Despite a big reason for the celebration of National chocolate day is the nationwide love for chocolate. But it also pays homage to a classic success story of American produce.
The story begins with the Olmecs dating back as far as 1100 BC. Its believed that Olmecs of the South Mexican region used cocoa to brew ritual drinks. The ingredient used in making the drink is unclear, as no written proof exist to point out if they used the cocoa pod pulp or the cocoa bean. Then the Mayans of Central America inherited the knowledge of cocoa. To the Mayans, it was not just an ingredient in a beverage but a prized possession. There are written records on the use of cocoa in celebratory drinks and to conclude an important transaction. Though highly valued, it was not restricted to the wealthy but was freely available to all. At every mealtime, Mayan households enjoyed thick frothy chocolate with water, chilli pepper and honey.
The next chapter on the journey of chocolate through history is the Aztech, who took their regards for chocolate to a whole new level. This civilization believed that cocoa was bestowed on them by their gods. “Xocolatl” (the Aztec origin for the word chocolate) translates to ‘bitter water’ and the Latin word, Theobroma cocoa for the cocoa tree, means food of the gods. In Aztec society, gold was less valuable than cocoa beans. These beans were used as currency to buy goods. The caffeinated kick of the spiced chocolate drink was enjoyed both by all. But the lower class could only afford it for special occasions.
Montezuma II, a ruler of Aztech, was famous for his love for chocolate and drank gallons of it for strength and an aphrodisiac. He also saw the potential use of it for his military.
The Chocolate of today found its rich flavours after it circuited around Europe. There are three theories on how Chocolate found its way to Spain and through them to the whole of Europe. The first theory involves Christopher Columbus, a Spanish explorer. It’s said that in the year 1502, Christopher Columbus brought cocoa beans to Sapin when he returned from his journey to America after detaining a trade ship. Another story states that in 1544 cocoa beans were presented as gifts to King Philip II by the monks of Mayans on their visit to the Spain palace.
The theory of Spain conqueror Hernan Cortesi is a widely claimed one. On his voyage to America, he came across these magical beans in the courts of Montezuma. He readily accepted cocoa beans as a trading currency and bought them to Spain in the year 1528. Whatever was the story, chocolate was quickly becoming a popular choice of drink among Spanish Royalties.
The treat of chocolate reached the neighbouring countries of Spain in 1615. This came about when chocolate drinks were served for the toast on Louis XIII’s union, King of France and Anne, daughter of Phillip III, King of Spain. Soon the Spanish court, parts of Italy and France too started importing the beans from Central America. The bitter taste of the drink did not suit the European taste palates. They made their variation of the Aztech recipe of chocolate drink with cinnamon, cane sugar, honey and other flavourings like vanilla beans.
Shortly after, many chic eateries popped up throughout European countries, including Amsterdam and London. Chocolate for its decadence and health benefits remained in demand among the European nobility. It took a long time before the art of Chocolate making was refined. Great contributions like hydraulic press by Coenraad Van Houten helped in getting the cocoa powder that could easily dissolve in water. The invention of this Dutch Chemist produced what was called cocoa powder or Dutch powder. And the process was later known as the Dutch process.
Chocolate made a full circle and was back in America in 1641. The Spanish traders bought it in Florida, and in 1682, the first American chocolate tavern opened in Boston. By the end of the 18th century, cocoa beans were a predominant export of American colonies. At the time of the Revolutionary War in America, Soldier’s food allowance included Chocolates. And there were instances when it was used as a payment to the soldiers. In a way, the American culture and history have woven themselves with the narrative of Chocolate.
Another instance where Chocolate and American history intersect is the second world war. The Hershey’s was asked by the U.S Army to manufacture high-energy bars made of chocolate as emergency rations for Soldiers. The company created the ‘D ration bar’. This bar provided sustenance to soldiers on the D-Day of 1944 when they charged the Normandy beaches. There were other chocolates produced as rations for wartime, like the ‘Tropical bar’, made specifically to hold out against high temperatures of Pacific Theater.
The country’s adoration of chocolate is palpable even in outer space explorations. During the 1960s and 1970s Apollo space mission, desserts made of chocolate was carried by the astronauts. To date, chocolate, especially M&M, find its place in the menu for expeditions to the International Space Station.
It’s hard not to see why chocolate has its very own day for celebration in America!
How Can we celebrate National Chocolate day:
Stuffing your face with chocolate is a given! But this National Chocolate Day, let’s get creative.
- Sharing is caring
Any holiday is more enjoyable with your loved ones around. So, on this occasion of #NationalChocolateDay, host a tasting party filled with chocolates. Connect with your friends over a bar of chocolate. Try the luxury of gourmet chocolates with your family. Jazz it up with some good wine paring and make a day out of it. Exchange chocolates with your colleagues or make a game out of tasting the favourite chocolates of each other.
- When you fall short of words
A basket filled with chocolates is the best way to tell someone that you love them. A great mode to bury the hatchet with a person could be by sending some crafted chocolates online. A Chocolate could easily replace sorry. Chocolate to you could be a symbol of appreciation, and you could do just that by sending some by mail. A guaranteed way to make anybody smile, so use this hashtag #NationalChocolateDay, tell your loved ones that you miss them by sending chocolate their way.
- Chocolate mania
Combine the two best things in the world, the aroma of baking and the flavour of chocolate! Cook or bake something decadent like truffles, chocolate muffins, brownies or chocolate cookies. A sure way to have a #HappyChocolateDay is by splurging on chocolate for your every meal. You could start your day with chocolate chip pancakes, or for the lazy ones, there is always chocolate cereals. For lunch, spice things up with your chocolate and try any Savory chocolate dish. And end your day with hot chocolate or chocolate ice cream.
Even on a free pass day, if you want to try healthy alternatives, make recipes with ingredients like flakes of unsweetened coconut, honey/ Jagghery as a sugar substitute, dips with dark chocolate flour that is gluten-free.
Watch a movie marathon on all thing’s chocolate such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chocolate War, Chocolate, Like Water for Chocolate, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and so on.
- Know your Chocolate
Take a tour in a local chocolatier or chocolate factory and get to know how your treatment is made from fermented cocoa beans. As you munch on samples from the factory’s chocolate confections, see the magic unravel as they craft chocolates from beans to a bar which usually takes eight days.
You could book a class and learn from professionals to make chocolate from scratch or learn to cook indulgent chocolate desserts.
- A Wild ride with chocolate
On the occasion of #NationalChocolateDay, all the chocoholics out there take a ride through Hershey’s Chocolate Town. And shop at the chocolate world at Hershey’s. Ride the fastest, tallest, longest chocolate-themed ride called Candymonium in the Hershey’s theme park. At every turn, a place with chocolate is a dream come true to all who believe a balanced diet is chocolates in both hands. Milton Hershey’s amusement park of 121-acre is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
- Sustainable Chocolate
The farming and trading of cocoa plantation comes with a cost. The completion and economically stilted the countries in which cocoa is grown have a hard time making ends meet. This leads to deforestation, slavery, child labour and child trafficking. With the movement of ‘Fair trade’, where big chocolate brands need to select their cocoa supply chain carefully.
This #NationalChocolateDay create awareness of choosing chocolate that supports substantial and ethical Chocolate making. These are the steps you could take are:
- Select Chocolate companies that have UTZ, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance stamps on the label.
- Try the ‘bean-to-hand’, that is, choose chocolates made by small boutiques and crafted houses. As they are aware of where their cocoa beans come from.
- Move towards dark chocolate. Not only is it healthy, but it also increases the profit of farmers. Dark chocolate is made of 85% of cocoa, which improves cocoa sails.
List of Sustainable Chocolate brands:
- Seed and Bean
- Willie’s Cocoa
- Ocelot sea salt
- Theo Chocolate
- Beyond Good
Interesting facts About National Chocolate Day:
- There are four primary holidays for Chocolate seen on the calendar of the U.S. National Confectioners Association.
- July 7th – Chocolate Day
- October 28th – National Chocolate Day
- December 28th – National Chocolate Day
- September 13th – International Chocolate Day. The same day as the birth of Milton S. Hershey
- July 7th is World chocolate day.
- Just after Cote D’Ivoire, the largest producer in Ghana, they celebrate the chocolate day on February 14th.
- Flavonoids are a major component of chocolate, and eating dark chocolate up to 7gms may reduce the threat of heart disease.
- In the year 1604, the word Chocolate, for the first time, appeared in England prints.
- S. Fry & Sons, a British Confectionary company, made the first chocolate bar in 1847.
- Cocoa beans are not technically beans. They are seeds of a fruit that grows on Theobroma cocoa.
- 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa, of which 40% alone comes from Cote D’Ivoire.
- There is a scientific reason why your brain loves Chocolate. The Cocoa polyphenols contain tryptophan and anandamide, which are the precursor to the hormones that make you feel relaxed.
- Chocolate melts in your mouth because the melting point of chocolate is below your body temperature, which is 86 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cocoa polyphenols have antibacterial properties and help in preventing tooth decay. Make sure to go for dark chocolate.
- Created milk chocolate in the year 1875. It is known that it took him eight years to get to this recipe. Condensed milk ended up becoming the key ingredient.
- In 1875, a Swiss chocolatier called Daniel Peter added condensed milk to chocolate, and the milk chocolate was born.
- The first-ever chocolate bar was made in the year 1842 by the Cadbury company.
History of National Chocolate Day
The National Confectioners Association created the National Chocolate Day to honor the diligent workers associated with the Chocolate making process. This billion-dollar industry employs around 54,000 people throughout America and supports 55,000 jobs in the related industry sectors. This ripple effect caused by the Chocolate industry creates 1:10 jobs in related support industries. Thus, Confectioners are an essential part of the American economy.