International Chocolate Day is on September 13. So please 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. So 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, “chocolate,” 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 essential transactions.
Cocoa beans were once perceived as valuable and used as a currency by the Aztecs, who believed 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, restricted to the upper class. In 1828, however, the chocolate press was invented by a Dutch chemist called van Houten, eliminating the problem. In addition, the machine squeezed roasted cocoa beans to obtain the fine cocoa powder used to make chocolate. This not only made chocolate more accessible to the commoner but also made mass production possible.
In the 20th century, chocolate is still enjoyed worldwide, in various exciting flavors and formulas. Cocoa is grown and exported from over fifty countries, at over 4.7 million tons a year.
International Chocolate Day Timeline
Enter the Cocoa Plantations
The Mayans cultivate the earliest-known cocoa plantations.
Chocolate in America
Chocolate arrives in Florida, brought on a ship from Spain
The First Bite
Joseph Fry creates the first chocolate bar.
International Cocoa Organization
The International Cocoa Organization is established
International Chocolate Day Activities
Visit a chocolate house.
Find a chocolate house or chocolatier and treat yourself to something fancy. Double the fun and take a friend along.
Try a new brand of chocolate.
- Mix things up 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 and prevent mouth odor.
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 hot chocolate, snack on a chocolate bar, or lap 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.