National Cocoa Day – December 13, 2021

National Cocoa Day is celebrated on December 13 every year. Hot cocoa is typically made with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. However, some also call it hot chocolate, which causes a bit of confusion. Hot chocolate is made by using ground chocolate containing cocoa butter. We can also make chocolate liquor by fermenting, drying, roasting, and grinding cocoa beans. After this, the cocoa butter is removed, and we are left with only the cocoa powder. This cocoa powder is used to make hot cocoa. It is a relatively healthy drink with very little fat and calories, depending on what you add to it.

History of National Cocoa Day

Chocolate has a long and ancient history. The first origins of cocoa can be traced back to 5000 years. Archaeologists believe that this is only as early as we can trace it. Of course, the chocolate back then was much different from that which we consume now, as sugar was still scarce. The beverage was flavored with vanilla, chili, and was served throughout the year. It was reportedly more popular during the Olmec period, where it was used for spiritual praying. It was once used as a trade currency in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

It first was found by European explorers in South America, where it was already enjoyed for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Europeans. Not only that, but it was the Spaniards who first found the flavor unpleasant and declared it bitter. In fact, chocolate became an acquired taste. It would not be until it was introduced to Europe and adopted as a luxury drink of the wealthy that it would be sweetened. This led to the invention of milk chocolate. And it wouldn’t be until 1828 that powdered chocolate would be available for consumption. Soon after this, the chocolate bar and instant hot cocoa came into existence.

The three prominent varieties of cocoa plants are Forastero, Trinitario, and Criollo. Forastero is a commonly used variant that contributes to up to 90% of the world’s cocoa production. Trinitario originated from Trinidad and is a hybrid variety of cocoa. Criollo is prone to diseases and less common — it is mostly cultivated mainly by Venezuela. Trinitario is foremost in quality and when compared to the other two varieties, it produces higher yields due to its disease-resistant nature.

National Cocoa Day timeline

1502
Europeans Discover Cocoa

During the summer of 1502, on his fourth visit to the Americas, Christopher Columbus finds cocoa beans from a native Mayan trader near modern Honduras.

1729
Cocoa Grinder

The first mechanical cocoa grinder is invented in Bristol, U.K.

1824
Cadbury

Cadbury is founded by John Cadbury in Birmingham, U.K., where he sells tea, coffee, and drinking chocolate.

1947
Rising Prices Lead to Protest

The increase in the price of chocolate candy bars by three cents in Canada leads to short-lived country-wide youth protests.

2005
Charlie Tops Box Office Charts

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which makes all things cocoa alluring, tops the box office charts for five weeks.

National Cocoa Day FAQs

When is the best time to drink cocoa?

Cocoa is best enjoyed in winter and is also a good bedtime drink if warm milk is added.  

Who was the first person to drink cocoa?

It is believed that the Mayans started drinking cocoa 2000 years ago.

What are the health benefits of cocoa?

Cocoa contains antioxidants that may help prevent cancer, cocoa beans help with digestion and the flavonoids in cocoa also have a positive effect on keeping our veins healthy.

How To Celebrate National Cocoa Day

  1. Drink cocoa

    No National Cocoa Day is complete without enjoying a cup of this delicious drink. Make a cup of cocoa the way you like it and enjoy it. Make work a bit more fun by having a cocoa recipe swap and trying out the different versions while on a tea break.

  2. Try using hot cocoa bombs

    If you are an ambitious hot cocoa fan, try your hand at making hot cocoa bombs. Hot cocoa bombs are chocolate spheres made with cocoa, marshmallows, and other ingredients. It is a truly unique way to enjoy cocoa.

  3. Try different toppings and spices

    Take your hot cocoa game to the next level by experimenting with different toppings. Marshmallows, candy canes, caramel, and toffees are only some of the toppings that will make your drink extra delicious. If you are not a candy fan, try cinnamon, all-spice or nutmeg, or add almond flavoring to the cocoa.

5 Facts About Chocolates That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Packed with flavor

    Chocolate contains over 600 flavor compounds, which give it a distinct aroma.

  2. There are four different types of chocolates

    These are dark, milk, white, and blond chocolates.

  3. White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate

    White chocolate contains cocoa butter but doesn't contain any cocoa powder or cocoa solids. T

  4. Powerful industry

    The chocolate industry is worth over $75 billion per year globally.

  5. High caffeine content

    Dark chocolate contains 12 milligrams of caffeine per ounce and milk chocolate contains 9 milligrams, which is higher than espresso’s caffeine count.

Why We Love National Cocoa Day

  1. Cocoa is delicious

    In all cultures, there is some form of a traditional cocoa recipe, and there are millions of cocoa lovers worldwide.

  2. A day to experiment

    National Cocoa Day is also about experimenting with your hot cocoa. Try different toppings, or even come up with new cocoa recipes.

  3. It has a rich history

    Cocoa and chocolate have a rich history. From being objects of worship to mass-produced consumer sweets, cocoa beans have come a long way. Celebrate this by sharing something on social media and collecting cocoa trivia to sound like an expert.

National Cocoa Day dates

YearDateDay
2021December 13Monday
2022December 13Tuesday
2023December 13Wednesday
2024December 13Friday
2025December 13Saturday

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