International Chocolate Day is on September 13. Celebrate with us as we give you some cool facts and fun ideas to celebrate this well-loved treat. After making its debut about 4,000 years ago, chocolate can now be found everywhere. Whether you’re a fan of dark chocolate, white chocolate, or hot chocolate, there’s no denying the decadence of this rich delicacy!
History of International Chocolate Day
The history of chocolate can be traced back to 450 B.C., originating from Mesoamerica, present-day Mexico. The word “chocolate” is derived from the Nahuatl word, “chocolatl,” meaning “hot water” and the Aztec word, “xocoatl,” meaning “bitter water.”
About 4,000 years ago, the Olmecs began refining cocoa beans into chocolate, which they used as medicine and as part of customary rituals. Centuries later, chocolate was assimilated into the Mayan culture as a beverage and for concluding important transactions.
Cocoa beans were once perceived as being so valuable that they were used as a currency by the Aztecs, who believed that the beans were a gift from the gods. Its potency was so revered that natives drank it in preparation for war.
According to legend, chocolate found its way to Spain in the 16th century through Hernan Cortes, a Spanish explorer who discovered cocoa during his journey to the Americas. From then on, chocolate soon spread to other parts of Europe.
The time-consuming process required to produce chocolate made it an expensive treat, which was restricted to the upper class. In 1828, however, the chocolate press was invented by a Dutch chemist called van Houten, eliminating the problem. The machine was able to squeeze roasted cocoa beans in order to obtain the fine cocoa powder used to make chocolate. This not only made chocolate more accessible to the common man, but also mass production possible.
In the 20th century, chocolate is still being enjoyed all over the world, in a wide variety of exciting flavors and formulas. Cocoa is now grown and exported from over fifty countries, at over 4.7 million tons a year.
International Chocolate Day timeline
The Mayans cultivate the earliest-known cocoa plantations.
Chocolate arrives in Florida, brought on a ship from Spain.
Joseph Fry creates the first chocolate bar.
The International Cocoa Organization is established
International Chocolate Day FAQs
Is there vegan chocolate?
The answer is yes! Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are obtained from the cocoa tree. Make sure to check the ingredients before buying.
Should chocolate be refrigerated?
According to Cadbury, chocolate should not be refrigerated. It should be stored in a cool, dry place.
How do you make hot chocolate?
You can make hot chocolate in either of two ways. The first way is to dissolve cocoa powder in hot water or milk. The second way is to melt pieces of chocolate in a pan of warm milk.
International Chocolate Day Activities
Visit a chocolate house
Find a chocolate house or chocolatier near you and treat yourself to something fancy. Double the fun and take a friend along.
Try a new brand of chocolate
Mix things up a little and buy a brand of chocolate you’ve never tried before. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Do something sweet
Don’t wait until it’s Valentine's Day to show some love. Send your friend or loved one a box of chocolates and spread the fun.
5 Healthy Facts About Chocolate
When taken in moderation, dark chocolate is good for your health and can even lower the risk of heart disease.
Chocolate can help you study
Flavonoids in chocolate can help to improve memory and focus.
Chocolate contains caffeine
Though chocolate contains caffeine, it is more potent in dark chocolate than in white chocolate.
Say goodbye to tooth decay
Dark chocolate contains polyphenols that help fight cavities and tooth decay, as well as prevent mouth odor.
Research has shown that chocolate can improve a person’s blood flow.
Why We Love International Chocolate Day
The varieties are endless!
Chocolate is a versatile delicacy that can be enjoyed in multiple ways. You can relax while sipping some hot chocolate, snack on a chocolate bar, or lap up some chocolate ice cream.
It’s an international treat
Chocolate has become cross-cultural. Whether you live in Timbuktu or Antarctica, you can eat chocolate wherever you are.
It makes us happy
Chocolate doesn’t just taste good. It also releases chemicals such as dopamine and opioids which positively affect our moods.
International Chocolate Day dates