March 24th National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

I remember when I was a child my grandmother had a bridge day with her friends once a month. During her “party” she served Bridge Mix, which included Chocolate Covered Raisins. While we children were allowed to play, which I did not want to do anyway we were allowed to sneak in and steal some of the Bridge Mix. Later, I found the Chocolate Covered Raisins at the movie theater. Made from the coco bean, the chocolate is a vegetable and the raisin is a grape (Fruit) so it seems like it should be good for you. Alas, it is not… but don’t let that stop you from eating one or two… dozen.

How to celebrate – Get some chocolate covered raisins. When the theaters open again, get them at the theater. Start a Bridge date with others just so you can buy Bridge Mix.

February 19th National Chocolate Mint Day

Well, if you like chocolate and you like mint it only seems natural to put them both together. Chocolate mint has probably been around since the day Columbus first sent chocolate back to Europe from the newly discovered Americas. (That’s the late 1400’s for those of you who forgot.) Oddly, the first chocolate mint chip was not created until 1973 by Marilyn Ricketts for Princess Anne to Captain Philips at Westminster Abbey. While chocolate is good by itself, the mint makes it a little more refreshing. You’ll find it in ice cream, cakes, cookies, cereal… you name it, you can usually find it.

How to celebrate – Have some chocolate mint. Create your own recipe for a chocolate mint something. Visit Westminster Abbey.

February 1st National Candy Making Day/Candy Decorating Day

February 1 National Candy Making Day

Nearly everyone likes some form of candy. It has been with us for as long as nearly anyone can remember. Apparently the first recorded Candy came in India somewhere before the 6th and 4th century BCE.  If you are able to remember beyond that then I apologize. But today is not about eating the candy, it’s about making it and sharing your recipes with others. Now don’t expect Mars or Hersey’s to share their recipes but as individuals we can share if for no other reason than to make someone’s day a little sweeter.

How to celebrate – Make some candy! Look over internet recipes sent in for candy. Throw a candy making party.

January 10th Bittersweet Chocolate Day

This is a bitter-sweet day… literally! Don’t you just love things that are conflicted with each other! I mean, really… how can something be both bitter and sweet at the same time!?! Sweet and salty I understand but, bitter and sweet at the same time?

And even more confusing… chocolate is a vegetable! Ok maybe not, but it’s a bean and aren’t beans vegetables???? When served with almonds, which are good for you are well, then is a bittersweet chocolate almond bar a health food? Well, if not for all the sugar it might be. So maybe that’s the bittersweet part of it, it could be healthy but it’s not!

In my day, it was a part of a thing called bridge mix and of course, you had to be playing cards to even bring that out! Of course there were those pesky raisins mixed in, and other kinds of nuts… maybe that’s why they called it a mix!

It’s a good day when bittersweet chocolate is something to celebrate!!!

How to celebrate – Enjoy some bittersweet chocolate. Create a concoction with bittersweet chocolate and other food items like nuts. Make a bittersweet chocolate cake!

December 16th National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Practically anything is better is you drizzle chocolate over it! Well, maybe not everything but at least most things! Did you know that the original chocolate was bitter and usually only eaten as a drink? (Wait, can you eat a drink?) Anyway, when it was sent back to Europe, sugar was quickly added and chocolate became a hit! If you like chocolate then you probably will like it on nearly anything you eat, it actually can make things you don’t like acceptable because it covers up the taste!

How to celebrate – Make a list of things you think are better because of chocolate. Try some chocolate without sugar. Try covering yourself with… okay, let’s not go there, it’s an entirely different subject.

November 4th National Candy Day

Today is National Candy Day. It is every child’s dream and most parents’ nightmare! The word candy actually comes from Middle England around the 13th century. That came from Old French, “culre candi”, which came from the Persian “Qand” or “Qandi”, which means sugar cane. The first “candy” was made from honey that was used to preserve fruit and flowers. The honey coated the fruit which happened to make a nice tasting treat. It also helped the digestive track and soothed sore throats.

It is believed that the first “candy” to reach America came from either Britain or France, or perhaps both, in the form of “Rock Candy”. Rock Candy was basically nothing but crystallized sugar, all of which was clear. That would have been in the 18th century and the process to make Rock Candy was so expensive that only the very wealthiest could afford it. Over the years we have learned how to add food dyes and flavoring to Rock Candy to make it somewhat more popular.

Chocolate did not come into the picture until centuries later even though Columbus took the cocoa plant back to Europe after his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. Other milestones for the candy industry came in the 1800’s when candy was made cheaper by production lines and crude machines. This candy was known as “Penny Candy” and for the first time in history, everyone could afford a sweet, at least on special occasions. By 1847 a candy press was invented making candy as cheap as it had ever been and in quantities that made it available even in remote locations. In 1851 the steam pan became available to melt down the sugar even faster and an industry was born.

In 1928 Hershey’s introduced Reese’s peanut butter cups, the first real sign that chocolate could be mass produced as well and sold in a package to consumers. The peanut butter filling was something new for the industry but was extremely well received.

During World War 2, soldiers were given M&M’s made by Mars Inc., for a pick me up because they were coated in a hard candy shell that did not melt while they were in the field. The first real use of M&M’s was actually reported during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s where Ernest Hemingway noted seeing soldiers with a hard shelled candy they carried around with them for an energy burst.

How to celebrate – Whatever type of candy you like best, today is the day to enjoy a piece or two. Try to invent your own new candy! Go back to the basics with this recipe for Rock Candy and make your own!

August 10th National S’mores Day

August 10th National S’mores Day

Got some chocolate candy? Grahams crackers? Marshmallows? If you do, you’ve got the makings for S’mores. S’mores were created sometime in the 1920’s supposedly by the Campfire Girls. It amazes me how long it took people to figure out the uses for chocolate. The chocolate chip cookie, s’mores… wow, what were they waiting for? They say you can even make them in a microwave in 12 seconds but why? Get your act together and make a campfire and make them the right way, like the Campfire Girls of old! Sometimes you just can’t beat the old ways of doing things!

How to celebrate – Go camping so you can make some S’mores! Become a Girl Scout or Boy Scout to properly celebrate today. Make your own S’mores by adding whatever you feel might improve something already pretty darn good!

July 28th National Milk Chocolate Day

If you are a chocolate lover today must be Heaven to you. It’s National Milk Chocolate Day! Not to be confused with Dark chocolate or White chocolate, today is strictly for Milk Chocolate. It is exactly as it sounds, chocolate with milk added to it. It retains most of the flavor without the bitterness some dark chocolate has to it. Naturally it’s not as healthy as dark chocolate. (Not that dark chocolate is all that healthy either) Today is sort of the Easter (Without the religious aspect) of the summer but I do not suggest hiding eggs with chocolate in them outside.

How to celebrate – Do a taste test of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate to see which you like best. Learn how milk chocolate is made. Have a glass of chocolate milk.

July 19 National Ice Cream Day

The 3rd Sunday in July, National Ice Cream Day since Ronald Reagan proclaimed it so in 1984. He also proclaimed July National Ice Cream month. So, in short, I think we can conclude that Reagan liked ice cream! But then… who doesn’t! It is comfort food that kids and adults enjoy alike. Ice Cream has been around since 200 BC, naturally in China. The only thing amazing to me is that it took so long to create a National Ice Cream Day! No it’s not particularly healthy and there are some people who are allergic to it, but for those of us who aren’t today is the day to indulge in a little delight and it is so appropriate it comes in the dead of summer.

How to celebrate – Have some ice cream. Throw and ice cream party! See how many flavors of ice cream you can list.

July 7th Chocolate Day

What don’t we add chocolate to anymore. We can start out our day with chocolate flavored coffee and cereal, have a chocolate energy drink or bar at lunch and finish our day off with chocolate pie for dessert after supper. And if you need a snack try having a chocolate candy bar or some chocolate covered nuts or pretzels. I think what we as American’s are saying is, we love chocolate! Chocolate did not start out sweet. Native American’s used it for medicinal purposes when Columbus landed here (Alright it wasn’t exactly the states he landed on) and found chocolate in use. He sent it back to Europe where it did not go over well until sugar was added. It has quite an interesting history way too extensive to go over here.

How to celebrate – Read the history of chocolate. Enjoy some form of chocolate. See how many ways you can name chocolate is used.