Someone, somewhere back in 2009 decided July 7 would be celebrated as World Chocolate Day. To that person, I say thank you.
I don’t need an excuse to indulge in chocolate. In fact, we always have a few bars hidden away for when the mood strikes. Sometimes, one little square is all that’s needed to extinguish an after dinner sweet tooth. And, it’s much healthier for you than that giant slice of triple layer chocolate cake staring at you from the bakery window (mmmm….cake).
Before I start going on about chocolate, my brother sent me this link to Handmade Chocolate Making by a Mayan Master — watch this video — especially if you plan to visit Belize in the future!
Here’s to Your Health
We’ve all heard about the benefits that good quality dark chocolate and cocoa possess. Here’s a quick summary from Healthline:
- It contains fiber, iron, magnesium, and a few other minerals
- It has a wide variety of powerful antioxidants
- It may improve blood flow and can even decrease blood pressure
- It can increase HDL and improve insulin sensitivity
- It can help decrease the risk of heart disease
Selecting chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa or more will help deliver on these benefits.
Fair Trade or Direct Trade Chocolate
Cocoa content isn’t the only thing to consider when selecting chocolate. It’s important to purchase from manufacturers who support the sustainability and livelihood of cocoa farms and producers. And most importantly, buy products that help protect against child labor and slavery within the supply chain.
As with any system, there are flaws and holes in its design, but as consumers we have a responsibility to research products and the ability to vote with our pocket books. I encourage you to visit the website of your favorite chocolate maker and find out what they are doing to put people and planet first.
Here are a few resources to learn about the role of fair trade and direct trade in chocolate:
- Fair Trade Certified
- Fairtrade International
- What is Fair Trade & Direct Trade Chocolate? from Bar and Cocoa, curators of chocolate from around the world
- Direct Trade article on Wikipedia
- Washington Post article on cocoa child labor
- Food Empowerment Project and their recommended and not recommended list of products (there’s also an app, so you can take your list anywhere!)
Visit the website of your favorite chocolate maker and find out what they are doing to put people and planet first.
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Ways to Celebrate World Chocolate Day
Now that I’ve totally bummed you out, we can still celebrate World Chocolate Day…responsibly!
Make chocolate goodies (with ethically sourced chocolate, of course!)
- Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Baking ChocolaTess — this is our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe! I use a 2 tbsp scoop for smaller cookies and bake them for 10 minutes.
- Italian Chocolate Truffles — this classic recipe appears in several of my cookbooks and I’ve made them for special occasions, like my friend’s bridal shower. I love it with orange liqueur!
Do a chocolate tasting
Not a traditional way to celebrate July 4th, but we had our own chocolate tasting over the weekend. We blind tasted and analyzed the flavors of six different bars (totally pretending like we knew what we were talking about). It was fun for the whole family. If you want to try it yourself, I made this handy tasting sheet (pictured below) to keep your chocolates organized.
Watch a movie about chocolate
Curl up with your favorite chocolate treat and catch a chocolate flick.
- Le Chocolat (2000)
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
- Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
- The Chocolate War (1988)
- Les Emotifs Anonymes (2010) — this one is my pick for tonight!
Let me know how you celebrate World Chocolate Day!
Feature image photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash