World Chocolate Day celebrated on 7 July indulges one of the world’s favourite treats and marks the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550. Until this point, chocolate was only known to natives in Mexico and parts of Central and South America.
It became a favourite of the people wherever it reached. In 1519, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés was said to be served a chocolate-based drink called ‘Xocolātl’ by Aztec emperor Montezuma. The explorer took the drink back with him to Spain and added vanilla, sugar and cinnamon to improve the taste. The drink gained popularity in England & France in 1600s after the Spanish invasion. Edible, solid chocolates were only created in the 1800s. Gradually, many chocolate-based dishes began to take form across the globe and a variety of delicacies started cropping up.
As much as we love chocolate, it is worth remembering that it frequently contains problematic ingredients, such as palm oil, which is one of the biggest contributors to deforestation, and cocoa, which is an industry fraught with slavery and it cannot be overruled that many children work as labors.
The good news is that many brands are changing how we think about buying chocolate and bringing the issues associated with it, such as slave labour, to the forefront of the conversation. Tony’s Chocolonely is the brand that is leading by example. It is also on a mission to make the chocolate industry 100 per cent slave free.v