Hot Chocolate 101

What is Hot Chocolate?

Hot chocolate has many names, you might know it as hot cocoa, drinking chocolate, or even cocoa. It is a heated beverage that consists of shaved/melted chocolateor cocoa powder. It is heated with milk or water and sugar is added.

History of Hot Chocolate?

The history of hot chocolate goes back all the way to the Aztecs, where cocoa beans were extremely valuable. Aztecs would roast the beans, drink their version of hot chocolate cold and flavored with wine and chili peppers. Not the sweetest beverage out there. 

It was when chocolate was discovered and brought back to Europe in the early 1500's that we started to get the hot chocolate that we know and love. Once introduced in Spain, the drink began to be served hot and sweetened. No chili peppers. It wasn't until over another 100 years that the news of this delicious drink began to spread across Europe. When it hit London around the 1700's it became very popular, in fact it was the English who started to add milk and enjoyed it as an after-dinner beverage.  The middle of 1800's is when cocoa powder was invented in Holland, which allowed for a whole new consumption of hot chocolate and even helped chocolate evolve.

What is the difference between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate?

These terms are used interchangeably but i they are two different beverages. Hot cocoa is traditionally made from cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. It doesn't contain any other flavorings and is usually a thin beverage, less rich and sweeter than hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate is made with actual chocolate. The pieces are shaved or ground so the chocolate melts quickly. This decadent beverage is richer than hot cocoa, and can be a thick, bittersweet drink. You can make it with water or milk. 

Best chocolate to use for a perfect cup of hot chocolate?

A lot of chefs and hot chocolate lovers  have found that the best chocolate to use is dark chocolate. It creates a cup filled with flavors that are rich, sweet, and decadent. You also get more of an intense chocolate flavor.

How did powered hot chocolate come about?

See History of Hot chocolate

Are there any health benefits to hot chocolate?

The good news is there are health benefits to consuming hot chocolate.  The cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease. Not to mention just consuming anything chocolate is delicious and makes anyone feel good.

Any negative effects of drinking hot chocolate?

It all depends on the type of hot chocolate/hot cocoa you drink. You do have to be careful about the sugar intake.

Popular hot chocolate brands?

Swiss Miss, Dove, and Nestle to name a few.