National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
annually on November 7th
Today celebrates the combination of two foods that are quite healthy—almonds and bittersweet chocolate. There are many ways to combine the foods, but chocolate covered almonds are what this day is most associated with. The first recipe in a cookbook for a chocolate treat in the colonies was for "chocolate almonds," which appeared in The Compleat Housewife in 1742. This had been a favorite food of the wealthy of England. Bittersweet chocolate with almonds can be made by dipping or rolling a variety of types of almonds—toasted, roasted, sauteed, blanched, or caramelized—in melted chocolate.
Because bittersweet chocolate is a dark chocolate, the day is a healthier alternative to National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day, which is celebrated in July. In order to be considered a dark chocolate, there must be at least 35% cocoa solids in the chocolate. When having between 35% and 65% cocoa solids, the dark chocolate is usually considered semisweet, and when it has 65% to 80% cocoa solids, it is usually considered bittersweet. It is recommended that for chocolate to bring health benefits it should be eaten with at least 70% cocoa solids, and bittersweet chocolate falls into this range.
Almonds are seeds that come from a tree that is native to the Middle East, South Asia, and Mediterranean area, and were introduced to California by Franciscan missionaries in the mid 19th century. Today 70% of the world's almonds come from California, and no other state produces them commercially. Although they are not really a nut, but a drupe, they are considered the second most popular nut in the United States. They are quite healthy, and contain vitamins such as B and E, and other essential minerals.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by making and eating almonds covered with bittersweet chocolate. There are many other recipes that contain the two ingredients that you could make as well. For example, you could bake a cake. You could just buy some chocolate covered almonds at the store, but you'll probably enjoy the day much more if you make something on your own!