National Hot Chocolate Day
When is National Hot Chocolate Day? This holiday is always observed on January 31
It’s the end of January and we’re all outside enjoying skiing, sledding, skating, ice fishing, and a wide array of winter sports and activities. A steamy mug of hot chocolate is just what you need to warm your innards and put a smile on your face. For many of us, it’s the drink of choice after coming in from the cold. So, it is very fitting that today is National Hot Chocolate Day, a January 31 holiday. After taking off your winter clothes and boots, warm up by the fireside with a mug of hot chocolate.
We all giggle when someone says chocolate is good for you because it comes from the cacao bean which is a vegetable. But, the cocoa in chocolate is indeed good for your health. First, cocoa is high in flavanols which helps to reduce blood cholesterol. It is low in caffeine. And, it contains antioxidants which are good for heart health. Antioxidants also slow the aging process. Hot chocolate has many useful minerals vitamins and minerals. Finally, we all agree that a mug of hot chocolate relaxes us and puts us in the mood for a good night’s sleep.
Will you use milk or water to make hot chocolate? The instructions on more than a few packets of hot chocolate mix say to add water. So many people do. But, most of us agree that using milk is creamier and much more flavorful.
Cocoa Versus Chocolate
There are differences between Cocoa and Chocolate. Both come from cacao beans of the cacao tree. Also, cocoa butter comes from cacao beans. However, there are many differences between cocoa and chocolate. Those differences are in both the process and the ingredients.
Cocoa is a pure powder made from cacao beans. It contains little or no cocoa butter. And, it is low in fat. Cocoa has a more bitter taste, as it has no sugars.
Chocolate is a mixture of cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and usually a few other ingredients. The sugars in chocolate make it much sweeter than cocoa.
Also, another important difference between the two, is that cocoa is healthier for you. It is higher in healthy antioxidants, and lower in sugars.
Did You Know? Now that you know the difference between cocoa and chocolate, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that when someone hands you a cup of hot cocoa might actually be hot chocolate.
Cocoa Chocolate Trivia and History
- Cocoa comes from the cacao tree. Therefore, it is a vegetable!
- Cacao trees are native to hot, rainy, tropical regions.
- The Cacao tree has been around for over 10 million years. Ancient Mayans first domesticated the cacao tree around 5,300 B.C.
- Ancient Mayans were the first to make hot chocolate over 2,000 years ago. I wonder if they had marshmallows back then!?
- The edible seeds of the cacao tree were called the “food of the gods”.
- Ancient Aztec tribes called it “xocolatl”, which translates to “Bitter Water”. Actually, cocoa is somewhat bitter. One of the ingredients in chocolate is sugar which makes it sweet.
- Aztec tribes considered xocolatl more valuable than gold or silver.
- Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernan Cortez brought cacao beans to Europe in the 1500s.
- In 17th Century England, “Chocolate Houses” were the rage. Hot chocolate was served in pitchers.
- In 1876, Swiss Chocolatier added powdered milk and chocolate together to invent milk chocolate.
- The Swiss consume more chocolate than any other nation.
- In 2004, Starbucks added hot chocolate to its menu.
How to Celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to enjoy and participate in this fun food holiday:
- Have a steamy mug of hot chocolate.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream or some marshmallows. Better yet, add both of them to your mug.
- Make a mug for others.
- Bring it to work to share with your co-workers.
- Try adding different flavorings.
- Tonight, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps.
- Have a taste test. Taste and compare cocoa and chocolate.
- Hold a “Hot Chocolate” party. Have the guests each bring their favorite “additive” or topping to share.
- Here’s a novel idea: Make your own homemade marshmallows. How to Make Homemade Marshmallows.
“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.” – – Judithe Viorst
History and Origin of National Hot Chocolate Day
Our research has not yet identified the author of his day. Nor, have we discovered why this day. Certainly, we speculate someone who really loves hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day saw fit to create a holiday for it. And, we appreciate that he or she did.
We traced this holiday back to 2012.
Also, we did not find a congressional or presidential proclamation making this day a true national day.
Definition of “National” Days – And why it is important to distinguish true national days.
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Holiday Insights, where every day in January is a holiday, a bizarre or wacky day, an observance, or a special event. Join us in the daily calendar fun each and every day of the year.
Did You Know? There are literally thousands of daily holidays, special events, and observances, more than one for every day of the year. and many of these holidays are new. People and organizations are creating new holidays regularly. January holidays are no exception. Consequently, at Holiday Insights, we take great efforts to thoroughly research and document the details of each one, as completely and accurately as possible.