World Chocolate Day is, as it name suggests, celebrated globally every year on this day. However, this is confused by the United States, which in a similar manor to the “World Series”, a baseball league contested only in North America, celebrates “International Chocolate Day” on 13 September. No matter, chocolate is so tasty that two celebratory days a year seems justified.
Chocolate is made from roasted and ground Theobroma cacao seeds which have been cultivated for at least three millennia, with chocolate beverages (bitter water) made by the Maya and Aztecs back in 1900 BC.
Christopher Columbus discovered the cacao bean during his fourth expedition to the Americas in 1502, but it was Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés who discovered the delights of chocolate when the Aztec Montezuma offered him a cup of frothy cocoa. The Spanish court then developed a taste for the chocolate beverage but with added sugar or honey to balance the bean's bitterness.
Chocolate remained something of a Spanish secret until it first found its way into the court of the King Louis the Thirteenth in 1615, and then to England where the first chocolate houses opened in 1657 - think coffee houses but serving hot and cold chocolate drinks.
Until the Industrial Revolution, chocolate was enjoyed as a beverage which was similar to that originally made by the Maya and Aztecs. This started to change in 1829 with the invention of the cocoa press, and in 1847 when the Fry Company invented eating chocolate. The World's first chocolate bar followed in 1847.
Chocolate is now comes in a myriad of types and qualities - mostly sweet chocolate with added sugar, and milk chocolate with added sugar and milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no cocoa solids.
We are celebrating chocolate in a more liquid form with a Ramos Chocolate Fizz.
An American military surveillance balloon crashed at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, this day in 1947. The incident went on to become the centre of a variety of increasingly elaborate theories alleging that an extra-terrestrial spaceship was involved in the accident.
In fact, the military, wanting to conceal the fact that the balloon was in the air to detect Soviet nuclear testing, reported it as a conventional weather balloon. It was this cover-up that led to speculations in the late 1970s that alien spacecraft with extra-terrestrial occupants had crash-landed and that the military had hidden it away. For us, this day simply must be celebrated with this extraordinary looking 1980s cocktail, an Alien Secretion.