National Chocolate Day, celebrated each October 28, is a special tribute to humanity’s greatest culinary invention. Chocolate can enhance even the most luxurious dessert items. On the other hand, you can get your fix from a simple candy bar. Hint: Try for chocolate with a “high cacao” percentage and low added sugar. Decadent chocolate and its varieties are celebrated on National Chocolate Day on October 28.
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 in 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 butter, and combine them with milk and sugar. 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
New inventions. New chocolate creations.
Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten invented a hydraulic press to separate the cocoa butter from the cacao, producing a powder. This led to the first chocolate confections.
Chocolate Gets Milky
Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter joined 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.
Hershey Park Opens
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.
The Cookbook Recipe
Wakefield’s cookbook includes the recipe for the ‘Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie.’
By The Numbers
$10,000 — the price of Swarovski-studded chocolates.
$260 — the price of a 1.76-ounce To’ak chocolate bar.
400 — the number of cacao beans it takes to make one pound of chocolate.
8 — the number of years it took to perfect the recipe for milk chocolate.
90 million — the number of chocolate Easter bunnies manufactured every year.
36 million — the number of heart-shaped chocolate boxes sold every Valentine’s Day.
1847 — the year when British confectioners invented the first chocolate bar.
20% — the percentage of all dark chocolate consumed in the U.S.
The 1700s — the decade when chocolate milk was created in Jamaica.
Twenty-two pounds — the amount of chocolate needed to be eaten to kill a person.
National Chocolate Day Faqs
Is January 27 a Chocolate Cake Day?
National Chocolate Cake Day is celebrated on January 27 each year.
Why do we celebrate National Chocolate Day?
National Chocolate Day celebrates one of life’s greatest indulgences — chocolate.
Who invented chocolate?
Joseph Fry created the first modern chocolate in 1847 after discovering that he could create a moldable chocolate paste.
National Chocolate Day Activities
- Try making your truffles!
- It may seem hard, but it’s easier than you think! Follow this recipe for four easy and fun ways to experiment with making your truffle from scratch. You’ll need some cream, chocolate chips, and a little 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 they are 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 even if they don’t, you know they’ll appreciate the offer to spend a moment with them and chat.
5 Dreamy Creamy Facts About Chocolate
- Chocolate is technically a vegetable
- Chocolate comes from the cacao bean, which grows on the cacao tree.
- White chocolate is not chocolate
- As it contains no cocoa solids, white chocolate isn’t chocolate.
- The first chocolate beverage
- The hot chocolate was brewed in Aztec culture and tasted bitter.
- Cacao beans as currency
- The Aztecs valued cacao beans so much that it was used as currency.
- Unique melting point.
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 before eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet triggered a 17% lower calorie intake for participants! It’s all about 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 lipoproteins, 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.