International Chocolate Day

On this day, the world unites in celebrating one of the most delicious and delightful confections known to man: chocolates!

The United States consumes over three billion pounds of chocolate per year. The alleged benefits of chocolate have reached mystical heights: enhances mood, reduces stroke and heart disease, improves vision and blood flow, and even makes you smarter!

Chocolate has been deified to such an extent that Sept. 13 is officially hailed as International Chocolate Day. Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey's, was born on this day in 1857. Hmmm, sounds like there might be some kind of ulterior motive behind this holiday. In any case, the truth has been out for quite some time -- most of us do have a love affair with chocolate.

Chocolate is produced from cacao beans, one of the most important crops in the global tropics. The International Cocoa Organization estimates that 90 percent of the world's cacao is grown by three million smallholders, employing over 14 million workers worldwide.
Cacao, in its natural state, grows in the highly bio-diverse understory of tropical rainforests.