National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
Celebrated annually on January 10th, National Bittersweet Chocolate Day is a holiday that celebrates a type of chocolate used for everything from chocolate cookies and mousse to chocolate frosting and pudding. Bittersweet chocolate has a 70% cacao range, which is 10% more cacao than what is found in semisweet chocolate. That makes bittersweet chocolate the preferred type for people who are baking goodies where the chocolate is the star of the show.
The History of Chocolate
Unable to uncover the history of National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, we decided to go ahead and uncover the history of chocolate instead. To cover the history of this food item, we have to take a trip back to Mesoamerica over 4,000 years ago.
The first cacao plants were tended to by the Olmec, one of the earliest Latin American civilizations, and they turned the fruit of this plant into chocolate. This chocolate was sometimes mixed with peppers and ingested during rituals or used as a medicinal product.
The Mayans would also use chocolate to make a drink—a drink they considered to be worthy of the gods. They would roast the cacao beans, grind them, and then mix them with water, cornmeal, and chilies. They would then pour the mixture from one vessel to another until it developed a thick foam. They would then consume it warm. The Mayans called it Xocolatl—a term that means “bitter water.”
Another group of people that used chocolate was the Aztecs. They not only used it for rituals and its perceived medicinal qualities but also used it for love potions and even used cocoa beans as a form of currency.
When the Spanish colonized the Americas, they brought chocolate back to Europe. The Spanish would make a drink out of it that was sweetened with sugar and honey so that it wasn’t so bitter. This is the first instance of bittersweet chocolate. From Spain, chocolate would spread to France and eventually over the rest of Europe over the next 100+ years.
Facts About Bittersweet Chocolate
Let’s go over some bittersweet chocolate facts. After all, when most people talk about chocolate, they’re usually talking about semisweet chocolate, which leaves bittersweet chocolate on the sidelines. So let’s take the time to give bittersweet chocolate the respect it deserves with some fun facts.
- November 7th is National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day.
- The movie “Psycho” used chocolate syrup as a stand-in for blood in the shower scene.
- Bittersweet chocolate contains anywhere from 5 to 10 milligrams of caffeine per ounce.
- A single bittersweet chocolate chip provides enough energy to walk 150 feet.
Observing National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
Want to observe National Bittersweet Chocolate Day? If you do, then all you have to do is pick up some bittersweet chocolate and bake something with it. Maybe you want to make chocolate chip cookies or chocolate pudding with it. Maybe you want to make some kind of chocolate torte—we don’t know. Just remember that no matter how you use it, you should use the hashtag #BittersweetChocolateDay on your social media accounts to let everyone know how sweet bittersweet chocolate can be.