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National Milk Chocolate Day

Milk chocolate, celebrated today with National Milk Chocolate Day, is made of cocoa, sugar, and milk. The proportion of each ingredient in the chocolate varies by brand and country of origin. Milk chocolate is the most popular kind of chocolate in many countries. Most of it is sold in the United States and Europe, but markets in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia have been ascendant in recent years. Although dark chocolate is now touted for its health benefits, the same was done for milk chocolate as well, especially for children, during its early years. Milk chocolate was first made in 1875 when Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolatier, added his chocolate to the newly-discovered sweetened condensed milk of Henri Nestlé. It soon became popular in America and Europe.

Milton S. Hershey, who had been in the candy business since the age of fourteen, and who had been quite successful with his Lancaster Caramel Company, was enamored by the chocolate-making he saw at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago—especially the making of milk chocolate. The first milk chocolate Hershey bar was produced in 1900, and by 1905 Hershey's enormous factory in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, was in operation. With Hershey's support, a company town sprang up around the factory, and milk from nearby farms was used in making the milk chocolate. Milton Hershey invented the Hershey's kiss in 1907, and its trademark foil wrapper was added in 1924. Hershey provided troops in World War II with a Ration D bar and later with the better-tasting Tropical Chocolate Bar. These chocolate bars were resistant to temperatures higher than ninety degrees Fahrenheit.

Milk chocolate was first sold only in bar form, but it now comes in many forms. The first milk chocolate bars were plain, but by the early twentieth century, they were being combined with other ingredients like honey, almonds, peanuts, nougat, and caramel, to make bars like the Goo Goo Cluster, the Clark Bar, and the Baby Ruth. These were followed by the Mars bar and Kit Kat. There were many milk chocolate manufacturers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but as time went on, consolidation increased. Today the biggest producers of milk chocolate are Hershey, Mars, Ferrero, Mondelez, and Nestlé. Milk chocolate from these and other companies is enjoyed today in celebration of National Milk Chocolate Day!

How to Observe National Milk Chocolate Day

Celebrate by eating some milk chocolate! Have a plain milk chocolate bar, have milk chocolate in another candy form, or have a candy bar that is made using milk chocolate. You could also make a recipe that contains milk chocolate, or even make your own milk chocolate!

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