For most people hot chocolate has been a popular household drink during the cold winter months, but have you ever wanted to know more about this delicious drink? First thing you need to know about hot chocolate is the accredited definition: Any beverage made from cocoa, milk or water, and sugar and usually drunk hot. Swiss Miss describes their hot chocolate as, “Mouthwatering aroma, rich chocolaty taste, and creamy texture.” However, when this delectable treat was first created it had a complete different definition.
It is believed by chemical analysis of pottery that the first time cocoa was used as a drink was 3,100 years ago in Central America and not as the sweet drink that we now crave, but as a celebratory beer-like beverage. This beer-like substance used to create the cacao seeds were also used to make ceremonial drinks consumed by elites of the Aztecs and other civilizations. Additionally, it was also used as a form of currency. This drink was called chocolatl’ and was made from roasted cocoa beans, water, and flavored with wine and chili peppers. It was traditionally drank cold and was not sweet, but bitter. When the Spanish conquistadors came from the East in the 1500’s they were taken back by this drink. They brought pounds of cocoa back to Spain and served the drink hot, sweetened, and without the chili peppers, initiating the chocolate craze! The Spanish were so protective of their new found drink that they kept it a secret for over a hundred years before the rest of Europe found out about this delicious treat.
When the hot chocolate fad hit London in the early 1700’s, the “chocolate house” opened. This place was a fashionable meeting place for the elite London socialites wanting to indulge in this new luxury beverage. It was also the place where individuals started adding milk to their chocolate, and it was enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage. It wasn’t until the mid to late eighteenth century that chocolate started to morph into its more accessible form. First, cocoa powder was invented in Holland. Cocoa powder blended much easier with milk or water, allowing for more creations to come.
Here are some fun ways to mix up your hot chocolate experience:
~ Get a packet of your favorite hot chocolate and sprinkle it over a bowl of ice cream for a cool snack.
~ On a hot summer day make a batch of hot chocolate then allow it to cool in a refrigerator. Then put it in a blender with ice to make a delicious smoothie.
~ After a long day of class mix powder hot chocolate with cream cheese and spread on graham crackers for a quick and tasty treat.
~ During the fall months enjoy a piece of warm apple pie with chocolate whipped cream. First get heavy whipping cream, and while in the mixer, substitute sugar with hot chocolate packet for a fun alternative.
~ Before leaving your apartment for your 8am class, put a packet of hot chocolate in your coffee to give it that gourmet mocha taste.