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 confusion. Hot chocolate is made 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.
History of National Cocoa Day
Chocolate has a long and ancient history. The first origins of cocoa can be traced back 5000 years. Archaeologists believe that this is only as early as we can trace it. Of course, chocolate back then was much different from what we consume now, as sugar was still scarce. The beverage was flavored with vanilla and chili and was served throughout the year. It was reportedly more popular during the Olmec period when it was used for spiritual praying. It was once used as a trade currency in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
European explorers first found it in South America, which 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. Chocolate became an acquired taste. It was when 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 would be in 1828 that powdered chocolate would be available for consumption. Soon after, the chocolate bar and instant hot cocoa came into existence.
The three main 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 cultivated chiefly 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
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.
The first mechanical cocoa grinder is invented in Bristol, U.K.
John Cadbury founds Cadbury in Birmingham, U.K., where he sells tea, coffee, and drinking chocolate.
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.
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 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
No National Cocoa Day is complete without enjoying this delicious drink. Make a cup of cocoa the way you like it and enjoy it. Make work a bit more fun by swapping a cocoa recipe and trying out the different versions while on a tea break.
Try using hot cocoa bombs.
If you are an ambitious hot cocoa fan, try 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.
Try different toppings and spices.
Experimenting with different toppings will take your hot cocoa game to the next level. 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, nutmeg, or add almond flavoring to the cocoa.
5 Facts About Chocolates That Will Blow Your Mind
Packed with flavor
Chocolate contains over 600 flavor compounds, which give it a distinct aroma.
There are four different types of chocolates.
These are dark, milk, white, and blond chocolates.
White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate.
White chocolate contains cocoa butter but no cocoa powder or cocoa solids. T
The chocolate industry is worth over $75 billion per year globally.
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
Cocoa is delicious
In all cultures, there is some form of a traditional cocoa recipe, and millions of cocoa lovers worldwide exist.
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.
It has a rich history.
Cocoa and chocolate have a rich history. Cocoa beans have come a long way from being objects of worship to mass-produced consumer sweets. Celebrate this by sharing something on social media and collecting cocoa trivia to sound like an expert.