World Chocolate Day in The Villages FL
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. Around 1 billion people from around the world eat chocolates every day.
Besides its great taste, it has tons of health benefits. Although chocolates are recognized as fattening, amazingly they can also aid weight loss and help maintain weight if consumed moderately. Besides, it’s Valentine’s week and chocolate is the food of love.
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.
Chocolate comes from the seed of the Theobroma Cacao tree. Cacao grows in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America, where it has been cultivated for at least three millennia. However, Africa holds 70% of the growing cacao trees in the world today. The earliest known observation of using cacao seeds is from around 1100 BC. The tree seeds have a very serious, bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor.
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, which is just pure chocolate in rough form. The cocoa mass is often liquified and molded with or without other ingredients. This is the state where you get chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor then gets processed into two components – cocoa butter and cocoa solids.
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.
A lot of research into this edible treasure has found that it is a powerful source of antioxidants, plus it helps to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also increases serotonin and dopamine levels, which helps to boost mood. Many people are advised to eat more dark chocolate as it contains healthier benefits. Tons of treats are made from chocolate – hot chocolate milk, chocolate milk, chocolate cake and brownies, chocolate candy bars, and a lot more we enjoy today.
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.
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.
- Stock up!
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.
- Be choco-aware
Read about chocolates from around the world. Read this article and kids’ choco-based storybooks like: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “The Chocolate Touch”, and “Candy’s Chocolate Kingdom”.
5 FACTS ABOUT CHOCOLATE THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
- Chocolate was currency
Cacao beans were used as a barter currency in the Mayan Times.
Chocolate was once a medicine
Chocolate milk, discovered by Dr. Hans Sloane, was once sold as a medicine in Ireland.
- Chocolate cures cough
Chocolate contains theobromine which can cure cough better than cough syrups.
Chocoholics from Switzerland
Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and its people consume about 8.8 kgs of chocolate per year.
- Hot Cocoa was the first treat
The first chocolate product was hot cocoa discovered by the Mayans about 3,000 years ago.
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.
- Chocolates make great gifts
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.
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