National Cocoa Day
National Cocoa Day is a holiday that’s celebrated on December 13th every year. And frankly speaking, December might just be the perfect month for this holiday because there’s nothing better than a warm cup of cocoa on a cold December day.
Cocoa is an ingredient that’s been used for thousands of years and continues to be one of the more popular products for making drinks and desserts to this very day. And this holiday is the perfect way for people to enjoy this tasty beverage while they’re skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or just sitting around the house by a roaring fire.
The Origins Of Hot Cocoa
It’s almost impossible to locate the exact origins of National Cocoa Day, but most people believe that it was founded sometime between 2000 and 2010. However, the history of cocoa—also known as hot chocolate—is pretty clear since historians have done painstaking work to uncover its origins.
Historians believe that the Mayans were the first people to drink chocolate. They used ground cocoa seeds and mixed them with water, chili peppers, and cornmeal to make a spicy drink that’s very different from the sweet version of hot chocolate that we consume nowadays.
They would pour the prepared chocolate between two cups until it developed a thick foam. They then drank the chocolate for special events or social gatherings. It was often served cold or at room temperature and was rarely served hot.
During the 16th century, Hernán Cortés brought not only cocoa beans to Europe but also the Mayan chocolate drink with him as well. In Spain, it became extremely popular and was eventually adopted by King Charles V and the Spanish upper class.
In Spain, the drink was served hot, and the chili peppers were removed from the drink. The Spanish also made the drink sweeter, more like the drink we enjoy today than the original Mayan drink.
Over the next hundred years, chocolate began to spread across Europe, and by the 18th century, chocolate houses began to pop up around London. At this time, Hans Sloane brought a chocolate drink from Jamaica that was made by mixing chocolate with milk.
This would be the first real incarnation of the drink we would know as hot chocolate. Before the 19th century, hot chocolate wasn’t a drink that was drunk for pleasure but was instead used as a medicinal product for treating stomach and liver diseases.
However, when it was brought to the U.S., it began to lose its use as a medicinal product, and people began to enjoy it as a beverage. Today, hot chocolate is one of the more popular drinks in the U.S., and millions of people enjoy it every year.
Celebrating National Cocoa Day
This holiday can be celebrated simply by enjoying a beverage of hot chocolate. Some people like to serve it with marshmallows, and other people prefer to top it with whipped cream. No matter how it’s made, however, it’s sure to warm up a person from the inside out and make National Cocoa Day a worthy holiday to place on the calendar.