Hot chocolate, also known as hot cocoa, is a heated beverage typically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. Some make a distinction between hot chocolate made with melted chocolate versus powdered, calling the former drinking chocolate. Drinking chocolate is also characterized by less sweetness and thicker consistency.
The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Maya around 2,000 years ago, and a cocoa beverage was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 AD. The beverage became popular in Europe after being introduced from Mexico in the New World and has undergone multiple changes since then. Until the 19th century, hot chocolate was even used medicinally to treat ailments such as liver and stomach diseases.
Today, hot chocolate is consumed throughout the world and comes in multiple variations including the very thick cioccolata densa served in Italy, and the thinner hot cocoa that is typically consumed in the United States.
After its introduction to Europe, hot chocolate slowly gained popularity. The court of King Charles V soon adopted the drink, and what was then only known as “chocolate” became a fashionable drink popular with the Spanish upper class. Additionally, cocoa was given as a dowry when members of the Spanish Royal Family married other European aristocrats. At the time, chocolate was very expensive in Europe because the cocoa beans only grew in South America.
Today, hot chocolate in the form of drinking chocolate or cocoa is considered a comfort food and is widely consumed in many parts of the world.
Although hot chocolate is generally consumed for pleasure, the beverage confers several potential health benefits. A 2003 study from Cornell University found that cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. Also, it has been demonstrated that the cocoa bean helps with digestion. From the 16th to 19th centuries, hot chocolate was valued as a medicine as well as a drink.
Hot chocolate recipe
— 6 T. Unsweetened cocoa
— 6 T. Sugar
— Pinch of Salt
— 2 1/2 cup Milk
— 2 1/2 cup Light Cream
— 1/2 t. Vanilla (or more)
— Pinch of Cinnamon Powder (optional)
— Whipped Cream
— Orange Zest
1) Mix cocoa, salt, and sugar.
2) Add milk. Heat to dissolve.
3) Add light cream, cinnamon, vanilla. Heat to just under boiling.
4) Mix very well and pour into warm mug.
5) Top with whipped cream, cocoa powder, and fine orange zest.
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