The Truth About Hot Chocolate

The Truth About Hot Chocolate

For many people around the world, and especially children, hot chocolate is a drink particularly suited to chilly nights or after a day in the cold. The first chocolate beverage is commonly attributed to the Mayans who ground cocoa seeds into a paste. They mixed the paste with water or wine, chili peppers, and spices, then drank it cold. Conquistadors brought cacao home to Spain where the drinks evolved to include sugar, cinnamon, and other spices. Cocoa spread to France, and eventually they brought it to England. The Dutch introduced a chocolate drink to North America in the seventeenth century.

Hot Chocolate vs. Hot Cocoa

There is the difference between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa. Hot chocolate is made from bar chocolate, containing cocoa, sugar, and cocoa butter, whereas hot cocoa is made from powder with the cocoa butter stripped from the ground beans. Hot cocoa is lower in fat.

Health Effects of Drinking Hot Chocolate (or Cocoa)

  • Twice the antioxidants contained in  wine and more than tea – reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • A natural antidepressant or mood enhancer.
  • Calcium and vitamins if made with milk.
  • There is no substantiating evidence for it being an aphrodisiac as some have claimed.
  • Hot chocolate is a high calorie drink because of its sugar and cocoa butter. Hot Cocoa is a better choice for lowering calories and fat, but read the label for specifics on any brand.

Best Tasting Hot Chocolates

Flavor preferences are personal, but trying to provide some guide for selecting a hot chocolate or cocoa that might delight your taste buds, I researched a multitude of “Hot Chocolate” taste tests. Below are the brands repeatedly rating high in multiple evaluations by different organizations in the past few years.

  • Land O Lakes – Cocoa Classic Chocolate Supreme
  • Swiss Miss – Dark Chocolate Sensation
  • Godiva – Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa
  • Starbucks – Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix
  • Ghirardelli – Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix

I plan on trying some of these on upcoming chilly end-of-summer nights.

Note:

I am a fiction writer, but research topics and provide posts like the one above for enlightenment and entertainment. If you liked it, please take a look at some of my other posts and my home page, R. A. Andrade. This post was prompted by the following passage from my novel,  The Field Trip:

Sipping his hot chocolate, he watched Jay over the rim of his cup through the rising steam. Hands tucked behind her head, she lay gazing up at the jeweled night sky while moonlight bathed her face with glowing white.

“The stars are pretty,” she spoke softly.

Ross hesitated, not believing she had actually said
something to him that conveyed sentiment, atypical of her
usual flat statements. Anxious to seize the opportunity, he
answered somewhat hurriedly, “Yes they are.”

“I have never had the chance to enjoy them prior to this
night.”

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