Some like it dark and bitter, others smooth and sweet, but no matter what your flavor preference this World Chocolate Day, on July 7, join us in taking a bite. The cacao bean, which is responsible for that unmistakably rich flavor we know and love so well, is native to Mexico as well as South- and Central America but has been transplanted into the U.S. and some European countries to match the high consumer demand for this delicacy. Whether it’s used to coat other candies and nuts, melted over fruit, or shaven over a gourmet dessert, chocolate always hits the spot.
History of World Chocolate Day
Established in 2009, World Chocolate Day marks the supposed anniversary of the day that this iconic dessert made its first entrance into Europe in 1550. All around the world on this date, candy stores, and local suppliers place their best-loved merchandise on sale so that everyone, both young and old, can enjoy a nibble of the stuff.
In order to craft a bar of chocolate, seeds from a cacao tree are covered with banana leaves and left to ferment, at which point they are called cocoa beans. Once the cocoa beans have arrived at their processing plant, they are roasted slowly at a low temperature. Then it’s time to separate the shells from the nibs so that the nibs can be ground to a fine powder called cocoa liquor.
The two products most vital to chocolate production come from this cocoa liquor paste. Cocoa powder is produced and packed for purchase at grocery stores so that we can bake the beloved roasted taste profile into our cakes and cookies, while cocoa butter is produced so that manufacturers can use it as an ingredient in their chocolate bars.
Dark chocolate, which tastes most like its mother seed, is simply a mixture of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. Milk chocolate includes those three ingredients plus a smattering of milk powder. At this point, chocolatiers can add things like nuts, salts, and syrups to elevate the flavor profile. Once cooled, the mixtures harden into the shapes of their respective molds, are wrapped in paper, and shipped to our favorite stores and candy shops.
World Chocolate Day timeline
North America receives its first chocolate shipment on a Spanish vessel at what is now the coast of Florida.
Milton S. Hershey founds Hershey’s Chocolate Factory in Derry, Pennsylvania.
“Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie that completely revolves around the Western world’s obsession with the sweet brown squares, premieres in the U.S.
After centuries of being the featured dish at every joyful event, chocolate wins an event of its own when World Chocolate Day is finally established.
World Chocolate Day FAQs
Could I be allergic to chocolate?
When we say this treat is universal, we mean it. Experts have found that chocolate is an extremely rare allergen. If you experience adverse reactions after having some, chances are you’re rejecting one of the other ingredients that go into a good chocolate bar. That means that, with a little research, you may be able to rejoin the festivities!
How long does chocolate stay viable?
The average chocolate bar is safe to consume for at least two years after purchase when kept in a cool, dry place. However, if your chocolate seems to have changed color or texture, it may be best to toss it and buy a new supply.
Can chocolate be healthy?
Yes! Dark chocolate is actually cited as being heart-healthy and chock full of antioxidants. However, the more a chocolate bar is processed, the more likely it is to have high sugar content. Shoot for high cocoa percentages if you’re eating it for health reasons.
How to Celebrate World Chocolate Day
Host a potluck.
It’s not often that we allow ourselves to eat dessert before dinner, much less substitute dessert for dinner entirely. In the name of chocolate, reach out to your best mates to plan a chocolate-themed potluck. Everyone must create their best cocoa-centric dish and bring it to the party’s location, where you’ll all ooh and ahh over the many fudgy confections.
Chocolate, much like coffee or wine, has an entire subculture based on quality, origin, and processing methods. Join in on the day’s festivities by visiting your local chocolatier or candy shop, where you can participate in such heavenly wonders as building your own chocolate box or even customizing your own dream bar. Once you’ve filled a paper bag with gourmet goodies aplenty, enjoy them at home — or sneak some on your commute, we promise not to tell.
Experiment with fondue.
The motherload of all chocolate inventions has to be chocolate fondue. Sure, we’d all like to have a fountain of cocoa waterfalls as tall as ourselves, but there are other ways to enjoy this dip-friendly luxury. Melting your favorite bar or even whipping up a quick ganache are both wonderful substitutes for a fondue fountain. Once you’ve got your molten candy, try dipping fruits, crackers, cheeses, and other sweet treats into the mahogany depths.
5 Chocolate Truffle Facts That’ll Make You Drool
Looks aren’t everything.
Those in the culinary world may associate the word ‘truffle’ with an earthy fungus, but rest assured that these confections were given their name simply for their physical resemblance, not for their taste.
There are rules
In order to earn the truffle specification, a chocolate treat must consist of a firm outer shell and a soft ganache center.
Most have a powdery coating
Originally, truffles would be rolled in cocoa powder before being wrapped and sold — this tradition has held, but now powdered sugar and sprinkles are also commonly dusted over their surfaces as a luxurious final touch.
We can thank France
In the kitchen of renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier, an apprentice’s messy mistake resulted in the first-ever chocolate truffles.
Some have a non-chocolate surprise
While the traditional truffle would be chocolate all the way through, more contemporary renditions feature soft caramel, fruit, or nuts.
Why We Love World Chocolate Day
Every culture cares
Chocolate seems to have established itself quite solidly as a foundational flavor in all countries. Of course, its origin countries in South- and Central America cherish it well, but chocolate is as loved in Asia as it is in Africa. That’s why the holiday is called World Chocolate Day — everyone across the globe has found a way to luxuriate in its richness.
We love a good dessert
Even those who aren’t much into having chocolate straight from the source can find an alternative way to participate on this holiday. There’s chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, chocolate cookies, chocolate cake — the list goes on and on.
It reminds us of our best memories.
Because chocolate is both a comfort food and a special-occasion luxury, many people often have positive memories in which chocolate played a significant role. It seems something cocoa-based can be found at every celebration, from birthdays to weddings to anniversaries. Having a bite of chocolate takes us right back to the good old days.
World Chocolate Day dates