It’s National Cocoa Day! Nothing is better on a cold winter day than a delicious cup of hot cocoa! Cocoa is made from the dried, fully fermented seeds of the cacao tree. These seeds are ground to make cocoa powder, which is a main ingredient in the hot cocoa we all know and love. Fun fact: monkeys were actually the first creatures to discover that the cacao plant was edible – and tasty! Over 1500 years ago, monkeys began to eat the pulp of the plant and spit out the beans. Humans soon caught on, and the rest is history.
Cacao trees are grown worldwide, but it is thought that the first ones grew in South America. Cocoa is similar to wine, in that its flavor profile differs based on where it’s grown. Lucky for us, cacao trees are very plentiful – it takes 300-600 cocoa beans to make two pounds of chocolate!
To celebrate National Cocoa Day, make your favorite type of cocoa to enjoy. For a holiday twist on a traditional cup of cocoa, try adding a candy cane!