As if we needed another reason to eat chocolate, World Chocolate Day celebrates the delectable treat each year.
Devoured by people around the globe, you’ll rarely find someone who doesn’t enjoy chocolate in its many shapes and forms.
From Cadbury to Galaxy, and brownies to mousse, many of us will be using World Chocolate Day as an excuse to gorge on our favourite chocolate-based snacks and desserts.
So, what is World Chocolate Day and when is it this year?
Here is everything you need to know.
What is World Chocolate Day?
The clue is in the name - World Chocolate Day is an annual global celebration of chocolate.
It marks the introduction of the food to Europe many centuries ago in 1550.
Until then, chocolate was only consumed in indigenous communities in Mexico and parts of central and south America.
It was brought to Spain in drink form by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who had travelled to South America to establish colonies and was greeted by the Aztecs with gallons of the liquid.
But before it became a treat, the bitter chocolatey drink was used as a medicine.
People began to sweeten its taste with sugar, vanilla or honey, and the drink quickly became fashionable in Spain and then with other European aristocrats.
Chocolate’s form began to change in 1828, when Coenraad van Houten from Amsterdam invented the “cocoa press”, which was able to separate the fat from a cacao bean and leave behind a fine powder.
The method led to the mass production of chocolate, which made the food available to the wider public.
The chocolate bar was finally born in 1847, when British chocolatier J.S. Fry and Sons set the fat and liquid, with sugar, in moulds. Then, Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter added powdered milk to the mix to make the world’s first milk chocolate bar.
It’s safe to say that chocolate’s popularity has gone from strength to strength since.
The treat doesn’t come without its problems, though, as often chocolate contains palm oil - one of the biggest contributors to deforestation - and cocoa - which is an industry marred by modern slavery.
When is World Chocolate Day 2021?
World Chocolate Day, also known as International Chocolate Day, is celebrated around the world annually on 7 July.
This year, the national awareness day falls on a Wednesday.
It’s thought that the day was first celebrated in 2009.
Chocolate is a popular food, so naturally there isn’t just one day to celebrate it - there’s also National Chocolate Day in the US which occurs on 28 October, while Ghana, the second largest producer of cocoa, celebrates the culinary delight on 14 February.
How do we celebrate the day?
By eating chocolate, of course.
The day allows people to indulge in the food guilt-free, whether that be in the form of milk or dark chocolate, ice cream, or chocolate cake.
Foodies often create different kinds of chocolate dishes, from cakes to pastries, and it is also traditional to gift chocolate to loved ones in a gesture of appreciation.