Hot chocolate, also known as drinking chocolate or cocoa, is a heated drink consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and usually a sweetener.
It may be topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.
Hot chocolate is usually drunk to make the drinker feel happier or warmer.
Some studies have shown that hot chocolate may be healthy because of antioxidants that are in cocoa.
The history of hot chocolate began in Mesoamerica.
It is believed that the chocolate drink was first made by the Mayan people about 2,000 years ago.
Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree.
A cocoa drink was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 AD, by which they referred to as xocōlātl. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency.
The drink became popular in Europe after being introduced from Mexico in the New World and has undergone multiple changes since then.
After its arrival to Europe in the 16th century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout society, first among the ruling classes and then among the common people.
When cocoa from the Americas first arrived in London in the 17th century, it was an instant hit with artisans, philosophers, thinkers, and even politicians. Hot chocolate was all the rage in drawing rooms of the nobles, parlour rooms heated with discussions of conquering the new world and pubs abuzz with the trend of artists and philosophers of the day. Very exciting times indeed!
European hot chocolate first came to the US as early as the 1600s by the Dutch, but the first time colonists began selling hot chocolate was around 1755.
Thomas Jefferson was so impressed with the drink that he wrote to John Adams in 1785 saying, “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the preference over tea and coffee in America…”
Until the 1800s, hot chocolate was used by doctors as a medicine against some diseases.
In the 20th century, chocolate was considered essential in the rations of United States soldiers during war.
During World War I, volunteers from the YMCA set up recovery stations near the battlefields to assist and comfort fatigued troops; warm cups of hot chocolate were staples at these stations. Americans fighting in World War II were also treated to the hot drink when cocoa was added to some of the military’s field rations in 1944.
Today, hot chocolate is consumed throughout the world and comes in multiple variations, including the spiced chocolate para mesa of Latin America, the very thick cioccolata calda served in Italy and chocolate a la taza served in Spain, and the thinner hot cocoa consumed in the United States.
Like coffee and tea, hot chocolate contains caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that’s often used to provide a much-needed energy boost.
Most people use the terms “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa” interchangeably as they’re both hot and chocolaty, but they’re not exactly the same thing.
Technically speaking, hot cocoa and hot chocolate are also two very different beverages. Hot cocoa comes from a powder, while hot chocolate is made from chopped bits of chocolate or small chocolate pellets that are melted slowly and painstakingly, then blended with milk, cream, or water. Hot chocolate can be made with dark, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate.
The largest hot chocolate party was attended by 2,106 participants and was achieved by Sanki Mayor (Japan) and Chocolatier Bonnat (France), in Mexico City, Mexico, on 4 March 2017. Sanki was celebrating its seventh anniversary in Mexico.
The largest cup of hot chocolate/cocoa contained 4,816.6 liters (1059.4 UK gal, 1272.3 US gal) and was achieved by the Municipio de Uruapan (Mexico), in Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico, on 6 January 2018.
The hot chocolate effect, also known as the allassonic effect, is a phenomenon of wave mechanics first documented in 1982 by Frank Crawford, where the pitch heard from tapping a cup of hot liquid rises after the addition of a soluble powder.