History of National Chocolate Day
The history of chocolate goes back 2,500 years. Aztecs loved their newly discovered liquid chocolate to the extent that they believed Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, literally bestowed it upon them. Cacao seeds acted as a form of currency. And this was back in the “bitter” chocolate days — before they added sugar! Once chocolate turned sweet — in 16th-century Europe — the masses caught on and turned chocolate into a powerhouse treat.
Several present-day chocolate companies began operations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cadbury started in England by 1868. Milton S. Hershey, 25 years later, purchased chocolate processing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago He started the company by producing chocolate-coated caramels. Nestlé, dating back to the 1860s, has grown into one of the largest food conglomerates in the world.
Did you know that chocolate is a fermented food? That’s right, once the cacao pods are picked, cleaned of pithy white material from the fruit and dried, the cacao beans are fermented. The papery shell is removed and cacao nibs are revealed. Chocolatiers then grind them into cocoa mass, separate them into cocoa solids and cocoa butter, and combine them with milk and sugar, or in the case of white chocolate, just the chocolate butter with milk and sugar.
Today there’s a move toward dark chocolate since it contains far less sugar. Ghana, Ecuador, and the Ivory Coast,all near the equator, have ideal climates for cacao trees and produce some of the world’s best chocolate. It’s best to look for dark chocolate from those regions.
But there’s a dark side. Child labor has become a serious issue. When you purchase “fair trade chocolate,” you’re working to help make cocoa farming more sustainable. Keep this in mind and choose your chocolate wisely.
National Chocolate Day timeline
Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten invented a hydraulic press that could separate the cocoa butter from the cacao, thereby producing a powder. This led to the first chocolate confections
Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter joins forces with M. Henri Nestlé, then a baby-food manufacturer who had invented a milk-condensation process. Together they found a way to bring milk chocolate onto the market. They would go on to form the Nestlé company.
Milton Hershey builds a park to create a more pleasant environment for workers and residents — striving to rise above typical factory towns of the time. The original main buildings, including a rustic bandstand and pavilion, serve as a stage for vaudeville and theatre productions.
National Chocolate Day FAQs
Why is Chocolate Day celebrated?
Everyone seems to love chocolate and National Chocolate Day enables us to share in the fun. It’s a sweet treat with a sweet history — going back more than 2,000 years.
Is there a National Candy Day?
Yes, National Candy Day falls on November 4. Lots of us reach for candy in times of stress, but do try to limit your sugar intake.
Is today National Chocolate Day?
National Chocolate Day falls on October 18 — just 13 days before Halloween. It’s the perfect time to practice your candy-eating skills. No costume required. Yet.
National Chocolate Day Activities
Try making your own truffles!
It may seem hard, but it’s actually easier than you think! Follow this recipe for 4 easy and fun ways to experiment with making your own truffle from scratch. All you'll need is some cream, some chocolate chips and a tiny bit of time.
Tour a local chocolatier
Get an up-close look at the process that chocolate goes through from bean to bar at a local chocolate factory or chocolatier. Most places have tours available to the public and are more than happy to share their knowledge, experience, and love of the chocolate profession and trade.
Share a bar with your friends
Chocolate is amazing, friends are amazing, and human connection over chocolate is one of the most beautiful things! Most people like chocolate, and really, even if they don't, you know they'll appreciate the offer to spend a moment with them and chat.
Why We Love National Chocolate Day
Chocolate can lower stress
One study showed that people who ate chocolate compounds had better cognitive performance and reported less mental fatigue than the control group. This may have something to do with how the chemicals in chocolate interact with our brain: releasing serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins and giving us a good dose of antioxidants.
It can help us lose weight
Another study revealed that ingestion of dark chocolate prior to eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet triggered a 17% lower calorie intake for participants! It’s all about the sugar.
Chocolate might help your heart
Per the American Heart Association: “Combining raw almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa significantly reduced the number of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, particles in the blood of overweight and obese people. LDL is often called “bad cholesterol” because of the role it plays in clogging arteries.
National Chocolate Day dates
National Chocolate Day Featured Video
Celebrate Chocolate Day!