World Chocolate Day is coming up on 7th July, and what better opportunity to celebrate all things chocolatey than with its very own day?
Created especially in its honour, this special day will see chocolate being globally celebrated in a variety of different ways; from developing chocolate-inspired recipes to indulging in chocolate-covered treats, to making homemade chocolate fondues, baked goods, and more!
It’s certainly going to be eventful. But, if you find yourself asking ‘What is International Chocolate Day all about?’, you’re in the right place to find out!
Why is World Chocolate Day Celebrated?
Whether it’s part of your weekend (or weekday) routine to bring out the Sharing Treats to indulge your sweet cravings, or it’s your go-to solution to grab a box of truffles to take to an upcoming occasion, it’s undeniable that chocolate has been a popular and integral part of our lifestyle for many years now – and for a good reason too!
The fact that it’s simply delicious has seen this wonderful food featured as a key ingredient in many confectionery products and desserts over the course of many years, starting with traditional puddings (which have inspired our Best of British dessert-themed chocolate bars), classic cakes, and even the world’s first ice creams. This all stems back to the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550, which we now celebrate the anniversary for each year with World Chocolate Day!
Inspired by this auspicious day, we have investigated the most popular chocolate-related questions to help you discover the greatness of chocolate. So, if you’re up for a chocolate-loaded history lesson, get your Hot Chocolate to hand and prepare to be intrigued by our favourite chocolate facts (you can even test the knowledge of any fellow chocoholics with a World Chocolate Day quiz!).
Q: Who invented chocolate?
Evidence suggests that the sweet pulp of the cacao fruit, which surrounds the cocoa beans, was fermented and served as an alcoholic beverage as early as 1400 BC in Mesoamerican (a historical region and cultural area in North America, extending from central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica).
Later, the fruit of the cocoa pod was made into a hot chocolate drink which was bitter, mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to give the drinker strength.
Interestingly, sweet chocolate wasn't created until Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas and brought cocoa beans to Spain. Initially it was disliked, however, once it was mixed with cane sugar or honey, the sweetened chocolate drink took off quickly. By the 17th century, chocolate had become a fashionable drink throughout Europe, and it has since continued its development over the years into the hot chocolate spoons, hot chocolate bombes and drinking chocolate flakes which we use today!
However, it wasn’t until 1828 that Dutch chemist, Coenraad van Houten, found a way to make powdered chocolate. His product became known as "Dutch cocoa," and it soon led to the creation of the first modern chocolate bar, by Joseph Fry, who in 1847 discovered that he could make a mouldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Houten's Dutch cocoa. Now, if that doesn’t make you more excited about eating chocolate bars, we don’t know what will!
Q: What is the rarest chocolate in the world?
Originating from the Amazon jungle was a cocoa tree called the Pure Nacional, which produced some of the finest cocoa pods available. Between the 17th and 19th Centuries, Ecuador cultivated these beautiful fruits and became the world’s the largest supplier of cacao.
However, disaster struck the Ecuadorian cocoa forests, and the whole population of the Pure Nacional trees died out due to disease. Experts declared that the tree was extinct, and it was believed that its delicious cacao was lost forever.
Nearly a century later in 2007, the Pure Nacional cacao pods were miraculously rediscovered in Peru's remote Marañón River Canyon where a number of trees had been spared from disease.
Today, this small group of Pure Nacional trees fruit the world's rarest cocoa pods, which are processed into chocolate known as Fortunato No 4.
If you’re keen to try some Ecuadorian chocolate yourself, take your tastebuds on an adventure with our 71% Ecuador Dark Chocolate Bar – a premium chocolate which is handmade from blended cocoa beans from select plantations, chosen for their deep cocoa notes and exceptional flavour.
Q: Is chocolate good for you?
In recent years, research has linked the consumption of chocolate in moderation to the prevention of heart disease. Flavanols, which are an antioxidant in cocoa beans, have been shown to lower blood pressure and make your heart, veins, and arteries work better.
Dark chocolate in particular is scientifically proven to be a great therapy to relieve women from period cramps and annoying mood swings. This is because it consists of heavier amounts of the healthy cocoa bean (more than 65%) which is high in magnesium, potassium, and iron that helps relax your muscles and uplift your mood.
Q: How much chocolate will the average person eat in their lifetime?
According to a poll undertaken on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, the average person living in the UK will, in their lifetime, eat 7,560 chocolate bars, 2,268 slices of chocolate cake, and 8,316 chocolate biscuits!
However, believe it or not, us Brits aren't the largest chocoholics on the planet (not even our team here at Cocoba!). As a nation, we are only the 4th largest consumers of chocolate worldwide, with the Irish, German and Swiss taking the lead.
Sitting at #1 on the pedestal, it is actually the Swiss who eat the most chocolate in the world, consuming 19.4 pounds of chocolate per capita per year! But, can you really blame them with all that temptation around? We know we can’t!
We hope you enjoyed reading these fun, chocolatey facts as much as you enjoy eating chocolate itself! And with this new information in mind, we’re sure you’ll be looking forward to World Chocolate Day as much as we are. It’s certainly going to be a delightful day that’s packed with plenty of indulgence – so make the most of it!
If you need inspiration for your chocolate-filled celebrations, take a peek at our Chocolate Gifts and discover a variety of handmade chocolates - all produced by hand in our Kent chocolate factory by our team of incredible chocolatiers!