Posts Tagged With: Chocolate

National Chocolate Caramel Day

Last year we celebrated too many chocolate holidays to count, and various caramel-themed ones (apples, popcorn, custard, etc.) as well. But never the two together! I guess you could say last March 19 we were too chicken, since it was National Poultry Day. We’re taking care of unfinished business this year by celebrating National Chocolate Caramel Day!

Hard to believe one year ago we were 78 days into our year-long challenge already. On a personal note, we haven’t been as proactive this year as I’d hoped, but there has been a LOT going on in our personal lives. Including downsizing from a townhouse to an apartment. We moved last weekend, and boy are we tired and sore! All the more reason to treat ourselves to chocolate caramel, eh?

This particular flavor combination is one of the most popular, as evidenced by the countless number of sweet treats boasting both chocolate and caramel. It’s one of those classic combinations, like spaghetti and meatballs. Or wine and cheese. Or Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. (What?! Tell me you didn’t laugh out loud during Dumb & Dumber)! We can thank none other than Milton Hershey for combining the two. Hershey began his illustrious career in a caramel company. In the late 1800s, looking for a way to improve plain ol’ caramel candy, he got his hands on some German built chocolate manufacturing machines. His very first product? A chocolate covered caramel! Eventually Milt focused his attention solely on chocolate, but if not for his inventiveness, we might never have Snickers, Milky Way, or Twix. And the world would be a sadder place.

To celebrate, I stopped by 7-Eleven (oh, thank heaven) and grabbed a Rolo. These chocolate covered caramels are one of my favorites!

Now that things are finally settling down (knock on wood), we hope to focus more attention on this blog. We’ve got some big ideas, and will start incorporating those more. Stick around…it’ll be worth it, I promise!


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362/365: National Chocolate Candy Day

They’re really milking it down the homestretch. December 28 is National Chocolate Candy Day!

It feels like we’ve celebrated about a hundred different chocolate and/or candy holidays this year. They have been so plentiful, I think we need a new food pyramid. One that looks like this:


But, I can now say that this is the very last one! There are no more chocolate holidays this year. No more candy holidays, either. This is it, baby!! And it’s a good thing, too. Because at this point, I’ve got absolutely nothing new to say about either chocolate or candy. However, there is one final twist to our challenge: we are traveling out of town for New Year’s, leaving today for Ely, Nevada. We’re going to spend a week visiting family and friends in Ely, Las Vegas, and Elko, and stopping by to say hi to a ghost in Tonopah. Which means we are going to finish up this monumental project on the road, some 840 miles from where it first began. That in itself seems a little odd, but it’s just representative of some of the many challenges faced during the course of the year. A lot of times we were on the go, away from home, but we made it work then…and we’ll make it work now.

We ate a couple of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups in honor of this holiday. Very early in the morning, before we hit the road. It’s going to be a long travel day, and that was one less thing we had to worry about en route.

National Chocolate Candy Day

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350/365: National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Today you’re allowed to let your imagination run free – as long as you let it run in a sweet direction. December 16 is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

This would probably be a much more exciting holiday if we hadn’t already eaten chocolate covered insects. Once you’ve gone there, anything else is going to pale in comparison. I’ve eaten my share of unusual chocolate covered foods before – including bacon and Pringles – but those items don’t compare to this list of 11 “seriously weird chocolate-coated foods.” Onions? Pickles? Slim Jims? Weird barely begins to describe it! And from The Huffington Post, here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know Taste Delicious With Chocolate. Avocado made the cut. As did beets and quinoa. I’ll take their word for everything here.

Still, we wanted to try something a little different, so after perusing the aisles of WinCo I settled upon chocolate covered banana chips in their bulk foods section. I think I would have liked chocolate covered banana slices better, because these were crispy – being chips and all – and the texture was a little unusual. But they didn’t taste bad. A couple at breakfast time, and we were good on our RDA of potassium for the day!

By the way…we now have only 15 days left in our challenge!!

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

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334/365: National Mousse Day

Those fond of hair gel, large antlered deer-like creatures, and foamy desserts all have reason to celebrate. November 30 is National Mousse Day!

OK, in reality, we’re only celebrating one type of mousse, and it’s not the kind that walks on four legs or keeps your hair neatly in place. Food blog, remember? Mousse is a classic dessert that has the distinction of being light yet rich. It is French for “foam” or “froth” and gets its consistency from folding in beaten egg whites or whipped cream. Mousse is usually made with chocolate, though the first mousses to appear were savory creations in 18th century France. Dessert mousses, often made with fruit, became commonplace in the latter half of the 19th century. One of the earliest recipes for chocolate mousse was printed in the Boston Daily Globe in 1892, but this was more of a pudding-like dessert. Foamy, airy “modern” chocolate mousses didn’t appear until the 1930s, when electric mixers were invented.

Mixing the mousse.

Mixing the mousse.

By the way, we already celebrated a National Chocolate Mousse Day earlier in the year, so this holiday is redundant. It doesn’t specifically mention chocolate, though. But when I mentioned this to Tara, she said, “what other kind of mousse is there?” That wife of mine, she’s got a point. And just like she did in early April, she again made a homemade mousse from scratch. This time she tried a recipe other than Julia Childs’. Tara actually liked it much better this time around. I have to admit, this one was lighter than the last. Delicious!

National Mousse Day

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311/365: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Celebrating a food holiday you’ve already honored previously is bittersweet. Literally. November 7 is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day.

OK, so it’s not exactly the same as National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day (July 8) -but it’s almost identical to National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, one of our first challenges way back in January.  Bittersweet chocolate is, by its very definition, bitter. It contains less sugar and more cacao for a rich, intense flavor that is best suited to baking. It is sometimes lumped together with semisweet chocolate and the two can be used interchangeably in most recipes, though semisweet chocolate does contain a little more sugar. The darker the chocolate the healthier it is for you, so eating bittersweet chocolate is akin to snacking on three broccoli florets. OK, not really, but we can pretend, right? Almonds are a natural pairing: 40% of the world’s almond crop goes to the chocolate industry.

To celebrate, we split a Hershey’s bittersweet chocolate with almonds bar. I am not a fan of dark chocolate, and found it much too bitter (truth in advertising!) for my liking. Wouldn’t you know it, Tara liked it. For once, the tables were turned. I think this would have been better used in baking rather than eaten plain.

National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

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270/365: National Chocolate Milk Day*

Moo-ve yourself over to the refrigerator if you’re looking forward to celebrating today’s food holiday. September 27 is National Chocolate Milk Day!

It’s also National Corned Beef Hash Day, and while that is one of my favorite breakfasts, it wasn’t on the menu at my work symposium this morning, so we had to settle for chocolate milk. “Settle” is kind of harsh though, considering how creamy, smooth, and delicious chocolate milk is!IMAG1596

Chocolate milk was the brainchild of Sir Hans Sloane, President of the Royal Society of Britain (he actually succeeded Sir Isaac Newton), founder of the British Museum, and personal physician to Queen Anne and George II. While on a trip to Jamaica in 1687, he witnessed malnourished babies being given a mixture of cocoa, water, and spices to help cure their ailments. Upon returning home, he added cocoa to milk, and touted it as a therapeutic beverage with “health giving” qualities. “Take that, Mr. an-apple-fell-on-my-head-and-now-I’m-famous!” he may or may not have remarked, referring to his well-known contemporary’s discovery of gravity. Chocolate milk was considered a medicinal drink for about 200 years, until the Cadbury brothers invented their own version of drinking chocolate in 1820. Over time, this tasty beverage became a childhood classic, and is served either premade, or mixed at home using either cocoa powder or chocolate syrup.

To celebrate, Tara and I enjoyed a glass of chocolate milk for breakfast. I drank mine before I left the house, so this food challenge was completed especially early! (Though chances are we’ll never top the one-minute-past-midnight mark as we did with vanilla custard).

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266/365: National White Chocolate Day

If you’ve got the white stuff, you’ll appreciate today’s food holiday. September 22 is National White Chocolate Day! We have 99 days left in our food challenge, by the way. If nothing else, this should make you realize that Christmas isn’t as far away as you think it is.

White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate, but it does contain cocoa butter – so who’s complaining? Other ingredients include sugar, milk solids, and salt. During manufacturing, the dark-colored solids of the cacao bean are separated from the fat. When regular chocolate is made the ingredients are later recombined, but the cocoa solids are left out of white chocolate, resulting in a pale yellow to ivory color and a lack of antioxidants and other ingredients found in chocolate. Who cares? It’s still pretty damn good!

Nestlé launched a white chocolate candy bar in Switzerland during the 1930s, as a way to get rid of excess powdered milk, which was all the rage during World War I but fell out of widespread use as more consumers turned to fresh milk. Substituting milk solids for cocoa solids resulted in a different product entirely, one that doesn’t always get a lot of respect. Could be due to the name of that Swiss candy bar, Galak. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Ack! I ate a Galak! Savvy marketing, fellas. In 1948 Nestlé launched another white chocolate bar called Nestlé’s Alpine White Chocolate, which was a big hit during the 1980s and ’90s, until it was eventually discontinued. There is currently a push to bring back this candy bar, with a Facebook page dedicated to reviving it. I, for one, hope they succeed. I’m pretty sure I tried the bar and loved it. I’ve always been a big fan of white chocolate, sometimes even craving it more than regular chocolate.

To celebrate, we bought a Toblerone® white chocolate bar. I’ve become a big fan of this brand thanks to the food challenge, and was thrilled to find a white chocolate version of their Matterhorn-shaped chocolate bar. Delicious!

National White Chocolate Day

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222/365: National S’mores Day*

Bet you can’t eat just one: today’s food holiday is dedicated to all those who want some more. Some more toasted marshmallows, that is. With graham crackers and milk chocolate. August 10 is National S’mores Day!

It’s also National Banana Split Day. Since we’ve had a lot of ice cream themed food holidays, but very few marshmallow ones, this decision was a no-brainer. Plus, when we went camping last month, I said, “Too bad there isn’t a National S’mores Day. That would be perfect.” Ha. Little did I know! It’s like a genie came along and granted my wish (while ignoring my other for a billion dollars, the bastard).

This classic campfire treat dates back to the early 1920s, and is closely associated with camping because all three ingredients are easy to transport and don’t spoil. They are often associated with the Girl Scouts, who didn’t invent the treat, but did publish the first recipe in their 1927 handbook, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. I assume “tramping” had a different, less-derogatory connotation back then. The sweet confections were so popular, people were constantly asking for “some more”…and the name stuck, much like marshmallows to the roof of your mouth.

Speaking of, marshmallows date back some 4000 years, originating from the mallow plant in Egypt. Sap was extracted from the plant, sweetened with honey, and used as a medicinal substance to treat sore throats. Later it was whipped with egg whites, mixed with sugar, and coated with cornstarch to form the modern-day marshmallow.

Graham crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a reverend and proponent of American dietary reform, in 1829. The man, who was anti-meat, anti-tobacco, anti-alcohol, and anti-sex  (which all translates to anti-FUN), believed that a vegetarian diet would help curb alcoholism and sexual urges. He set out to create a high-fiber vegetarian alternative to a cookie, and used whole, unrefined wheat flour to make his namesake cracker. Graham was often ridiculed and was actually assaulted on the street more than once because of his radical views, but his invention lives on.

You can probably recite the history of chocolate in your sleep, as many times as I’ve written about it here.

This challenge would have been perfect a few weeks ago, when we went camping. We actually had s’mores that night, too. But alas, we were stuck at home, and had to improvise. We actually turned to the microwave to make s’mores. Turns out it’s simple! And while nothing beats a s’more cooked over a campfire, this was a pretty good substitute. All that’s missing was the crispy, blackened char on the outside of the marshmallow.

National S'mores Day

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209/365: National Milk Chocolate Day

If you’re cuckoo for cocoa, then today’s your day. July 28 is National Milk Chocolate Day!

Chocolate is one of those things we’ve celebrated many times already this year, and I’ve talked about its history more than once. I’m too lazy to link to those various posts, but a quick Google search under “chocolate eat my words” (or a similar combination) brings up links to multiple chocolate-flavored posts we’ve already published. Be careful, though: a similar search brings up a 9-step process on How To Eat Chocolate Seductively (#3: Unwrap the chocolate bar or box with a gleam in your eye and a sense of purpose. #5: Place your tongue on the chocolate first. Oh, the hilarity).

There are different varieties of chocolate, of course, and milk chocolate – while not as hip or trendy as dark chocolate these days – still holds a special place in many people’s hearts. It’s a sweet chocolate that contains milk powder or condensed milk, and is undeniably creamy and wonderful. In 1867, Swiss candlemaker Daniel Peter, who had recently started working in his father-in-law’s chocolate business,  experimented with adding milk to chocolate in order to create a creamier product. Milk contains water, which makes chocolate separate and disintegrate, so Daniel tinkered with his recipe for eight years before bringing it to his friend and neighbor, Henri Nestlé, whose company had perfected the manufacturing of condensed milk for its line of baby food products. By adding Henri’s sweetened condensed milk to Daniel’s chocolate, they successfully created a milk chocolate that stayed together and tasted delicious. You no doubt recognize the Nestlé name, and are well aware of its dominance in the world of milk chocolate. You can thank Daniel Peter for that.

To celebrate, we broke out a leftover Hershey’s chocolate bar from our camping trip last weekend. Nothing says milk chocolate like Hershey’s!

National Milk Chocolate Day

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189/365: National Milk Chocolate With Almonds Day

July 8 is National Milk Chocolate With Almonds Day. Not to be confused with November 7, which will be National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day. And yet, as I’ve stated before, we are left without a National Ketchup Day. Hardly seems fair, does it?

But my job is not to question these food holidays. Even though I’ve been doing so mercilessly, whenever something strikes me as odd or unjust (hello, dual coq au vin holidays). Also, hint: check back one week from today, because I’ll be bitching again.


Chocolate and nuts are a great combination, like Sonny and Cher or Simon and Garfunkel: each is fine on their own, but put them together, and the combination  is velvety smooth and a little crunchy. The flavors really sing. Literally. The combination dates back to at least 1742, when a cookbook by Eliza Smith, The Compleat Housewife, was published. Clever title, by the way. Nice little pun, Eliza. Kind of like what The Beatles did in the 60s. Smith’s cookbook featured a recipe for Chocolate Almonds that was, essentially, chocolate-covered almonds. It probably didn’t require a lot of culinary skill to whip up, but I’m sure it tasted good. Probably the most popular iteration of this classic duo is the Almond Joy candy bar, created by the Winjamy Candy Manufacturing Company in 1946 (they later merged with Cadbury in 1978 and were sold to Hershey’s in 1988). “Sometimes you feel like a nut/sometimes you don’t” became one of the most annoyingly catchy commercial jingles in history during the 1970s.

To celebrate the holiday, Tara and I felt like nuts, so we had an Almond Joy bar.

National Milk Chocolate Almond Day

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