There are a few drinks that can soothe the harshness of winter, but none of them come close to the satisfying taste of hot chocolate. This drink has been around for centuries and has had many unorthodox uses. These are 9 tasty facts that you didn’t know about hot chocolate.
1. Its Taste Has Changed Dramatically Over Time
When the Mayans and Aztecs first created hot cocoa, they used an assortment of chilis and toasted corn to create the concoction and drank it at a lukewarm temperature. This gave the drink a completely different taste to what we think of now as hot chocolate.
2. Hot Chocolate Started a Religious Controversy
During the 16th and 17th centuries, religious authorities were caught in multiple arguments about whether hot chocolate was able to be consumed during fasting times. The debate was caused by confusion about hot chocolate being a food or a beverage. Pope Gregory XIII finally ended the debate by declaring that drinkable chocolate was okay to be consumed during fasting.
3. There Is a Difference Between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa
The definition of hot chocolate in America is any hot drink made with chocolate ingredients, while hot cocoa is made of grounded up cacao. Hot cocoa is what most people drink, though, and is more widely available than hot chocolate. Hot cocoa was invented in 1827 and helped make hot chocolate more widespread. Even though there is not much of a taste difference, there is, in fact, a difference between the two beverages.
4. It Has Multiple Health Benefits
While most packaged foods are not very healthy for you, the closer you get to pure grounded cocoa, the healthier it gets. Hot chocolate has been used throughout history as cancer prevention, to lower blood pressure, and has even been used as a mood elevator. The milk in hot chocolate can also help increase calcium and vitamins in your body.
5. The Largest Cup of Hot Chocolate Was 880 Gallons.
In 2013, over 300 students worked together at Tampa Bay’s Museum of Science and Industry to create a pool sized brew of 1100 pounds of cocoa and 87 gallons of powdered milk. During the opening ceremony, the children shot beach ball sized marshmallows into the drink with homemade catapults.
6. Thomas Jefferson Was a Big Fan
The third president got his first cup of hot chocolate in 1775. He was instantly shocked by how amazing the drink was, and began endorsing it to anyone that he met. Jefferson actually wrote to John Adams and said, “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it preference over tea and coffee.” If even a president loves hot chocolate, then it must do something right.
7. It Used to be Made for Medicinal Purposes
When the Mayans first began making hot cocoa, they realized that the pure cacao was very high in calories and antioxidants, and also delivered a jolt of caffeine. They started to use hot cocoa as a pre-war beverage to give them an advantage during the fight. It was also rumored that Montezuma II, an Aztec warrior, drank up to 50 cups of hot cocoa in a single day.
8. Hot Chocolate Was in War Soldiers’ Rations
During the Revolutionary War, packages of powdered chocolate and canisters of water were given out to the soldiers to give them quick access to hot chocolate during the winter months. Besides the fact that it wasn’t cold, war generals were very generous in giving their soldiers a satisfying treat for their service in battle.
9. Restaurants Have Turned It Gourmet
Over the past few years, more and more restaurants have begun to make gourmet hot chocolate, which usually means it is served in a fancy cup and has garnishes on top. Some places have infused spices with the drinks, and use intriguing flavors to spice the beverage. Restaurants have even combined hot chocolate with alcoholic beverages, like spiced rum and ginger liqueur.