World Chocolate Day is a global celebration that is held annually on July seventh every year, but for us at Stage Stop, chocolate is our world all year long! This global holiday is one we celebrate a little extra. Considering we believe chocolate should be celebrated every single day, we might be slightly biased when it comes to honoring the sweetness that keeps our world spinning! With this celebration coming up this month we felt that this was a perfect opportunity to highlight the behind-the-scenes process of how chocolate is actually made! But first with a little history.
The first World Chocolate Day celebration can be traced all the way back to the year of 1550 where it is believed that they selected July 7th as the celebration date since it is the anniversary of the introduction of chocolate to Europe. What a tasty day that must have been! Even though the history of this day goes back hundreds of years, the first ‘official’ World Chocolate Day was celebrated only 13 years ago in 2009. Basically this means that we have hundreds of days of missed celebrations to catch up on.
The creation and implementation of chocolate goes back over 4,000 years and can be traced all the way back to the ancient Mayans. However, the first cacao plant was discovered in Mesoamerica, which is now present day Mexico. The ancient Olmecs, who were one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn cacao plants into chocolate. Not only did they enjoy this tasty discovery themselves but they also used it during rituals and as medicine. From then on, the ancient Mayans adopted the belief that chocolate was the “drink of Gods'' and by the 15th century it had reached the Aztecs. Chocolate is believed to have reached Spain in 1528 thanks to the explorer known as Hernan Cortes who is believed to have brought this tasty delicacy back to his home country. The chocolate revolution became global, reaching the rest of Europe about a century after its debut in Spain. The Spaniards attempted to keep chocolate a secret from the rest of the world which is why it took so long to progress even to its neighboring countries. We probably would have tried to savor it for ourselves too!
With people all around the globe celebrating World Chocolate Day, it is important to take a look into just how global the chocolate creating process is, it is equally as interesting as it is rewarding. With billions of people eating chocolate on a daily basis, we happen to be two of those, it is a demanding industry that contains a surprising wide-reach. The first step begins with harvesting and processing the cocoa to get it ready to be shipped to the manufacturer for mass production. The second step is to pluck and open the pods that are usually the size of a football! These pods grow green then turn an orangey/yellow color when they are ripe. The third step is to ferment the cocoa seeds which can take up to 8 days to complete! They are then dried, usually out in the sun, where this step can also take up to a week. Clearly the chocolate creation process is time consuming but extremely worth it! They are then shipped to manufacturers where the beans are broken down, roasted, melted, blended and wrapped, just to sum up the intense process in a few words.
Before you indulge in your favorite guilty pleasure for World Chocolate Day, it is important to note that chocolate also has a healthy side! Besides its delicious taste, some health benefits of chocolate include increases in serotonin and dopamine levels, which helps to boost a person's mood, we can ensure that this fact is true! Out of all the kinds of chocolate, dark chocolate specifically is extra healthy for you since it contains a powerful source of antioxidants that could ultimately help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Basically your Doctor should be recommending chocolate as a form of treatment.
Having knowledge on the history and manufacturing of chocolate in order to best celebrate the sweetest day of the year is clearly important. So grab your favorite candy and celebrate with us at Stage Stop Candy where you can find TONS of chocolatey items. July 7th just might be our favorite day of the year. Happy early World Chocolate Day!