What could be better than eating chocolate – that delicious, creamy concoction that’s adored the world over? Drinking chocolate of course! Nothing completes a cold winter’s day like a cup of steaming hot chocolate. So revered is hot chocolate that is has become part of our holiday traditions – starring in ice skating outings, sledding, and holiday decorating. As if chocolate isn’t luxurious enough – you can enjoy it completely melted down and drinkable. Could there be anything more decadent?
The truth is that the advent of hot chocolate actually preceded chocolate in its solid form. The ancient Maya and Aztec of South and Central America first discovered the glorious properties of chocolate contained in the seeds of the cocoa tree. These first experimentations with the cocoa seeds found these ancient people combining the seeds with combinations of spices and then drinking the mixture. This liquid chocolate substance was revered by their population and was used in everything from social to religious functions.
When the Spanish conquered Mexico in the early 1500s, the conquistadors were introduced to this exotic beverage. They became so accustomed to it that they brought cocoa seeds with them on their return home and began having the product shipped back to Spain. Because the price of importing the cocoa seeds was so high, hot chocolate was reserved exclusively for the wealthy.
The Spanish enjoyed chocolate as a beverage for nearly one-hundred years before its existence became known to the rest of Europe; Europeans soon adopted chocolate as its collective own, adding sugar to sweeten the mixture and serving it piping hot; it had been served cold up until this point.
The word “hot’ was added to the term hot chocolate when people began enjoying chocolate in its solid form. This was a way to differentiate the chocolate bar from the chocolate drink.
As mass production took hold, more and more people could enjoy hot chocolate as prices came down. In the mid-1920s, a powder mix was invented that would allow consumers to simply add hot milk or water to make their own hot chocolate. Many of us enjoy the beverage this way today.
For easy to understand, in depth information about hot chocolate visit our ezGuide 2 Chocolate.
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