Happy Chocolate Day! Today is one of two-dozen “national chocolate holidays” that have sprung up on marketing and publicity calendars in the US. Here is the most complete list we’ve uncovered so far.
A few years ago, WIRED magazine – whose founders had a taste for fine chocolate and went on to run the San Francisco-based craft chocolate-maker TCHO – wrote a fun article on today’s occasion. Why today? Because popular belief holds that on July 7, 1550 (a very precise date indeed) chocolate was brought to Europe from the Spanish colonies in the New World.
Fun, but not necessarily fact. According to the most respected scholars of cacao’s pre-Columbian history, Michael and Sophie Coe, no one really knows when cacao first entered Spain. In their seminal book, The True History of Chocolate, the Coes lay down the facts. The first documented appearance of cacao in the Old World happened in 1544, when Dominican friars took a delegation of Kekchi Maya nobles from the Verapaz region in today’s Guatemala to visit Prince Philip in Spain. Among the many luxurious gifts they brought were ceremonial jars of beaten cacao drink, a traditional Maya delicacy reserved for their rulers and high priests. That was the historical debut of chocolate on the European stage.
We like facts at Voilà Chocolat. And we like to pass them on to our customers – both for fun, and because we believe that the single most powerful force for sustainable positive change in the world is having better informed consumers.
So, today we encourage our friends, followers and future customers to indulge and enjoy some fine chocolate – and explore its origins.