We are all familiar with the warm and decadent beverage known as gourmet hot chocolate, which is perfect for sipping on a chilly night in front of the fireplace or after partaking in winter sports like ice skating or skiing. But, have you ever given any consideration to where this delectable beverage got its start? The history of hot chocolate dates back quite a while, and the beverage has seen several transformations throughout its existence, shifting from a cold and spicy state to a hot and sugary one.
Mexico was where it all began.
In the year 500 B.C., the Mayans were already drinking chocolate made from ground-up cocoa beans combined with water, cornmeal, and jalapeño peppers, amongst other things. This kind of hot chocolate was much different from what we know today as traditional hot chocolate.
They would begin by pouring the liquid into a pot from a cup, continuing this process until a dense foam emerged, and then they would chill the beverage before drinking it. Even though the chocolate drink was accessible to individuals of all socioeconomic standings, only the affluent drank it from enormous jars equipped with spouts, which were then buried with them after consumption.
After that, it went to Europe.
At the beginning of the 15th century, the adventurer Cortez brought cocoa beans and the equipment needed to make chocolate drinks to Europe. Even though it was ice cold and had an unpleasant aftertaste, the beverage quickly acquired popularity and was soon consumed by the royal court of Charles V and the upper class of Spain.
Following the beverage’s arrival in Spain, it started to be served hot, with sugar added, but without the chili peppers after a while. Because the Spanish were quite protective of their beautiful new beverage, it took more than a hundred years for the knowledge to spread around Europe.
Even though chocolate was somewhat pricey at the time, chocolate houses, which were quite similar to today’s coffee shops, were highly fashionable and popular when the trend reached London in the 1700s. Hans Sloane, president of the Royal College of Physicians, traveled to Jamaica in the late 1700s and brought back a recipe for combining chocolate and milk, which, in his opinion, made the beverage taste better.
The recipe was for making a chocolate drink. After some time, other people came to the same conclusion, and the English began mixing milk into their chocolate, which was later used as a digestif after dinner.
Gourmet Hot Chocolate of Today
In the years leading up to the 19th century, hot chocolate was consumed as a unique beverage and therapy for gastrointestinal and liver conditions. Today, on the other hand, we see this piping hot combination as nothing more than a drink to sip and relish.
Although you may obtain more authentic and gourmet variations of hot chocolate in restaurants and cafés, the typical American version of the beverage is somewhat watery and is often created by blending hot water with packets of cocoa powder. Other nations have their variations, such as the thick chocolate a la Taza of Spain, the spicy chocolate para mesa of Latin America, and the extremely thick cioccolata calda of Italy.
Because of the widespread demand for hot chocolate in the United States, several coffee vending machines now dispense the beverage. The powder is typically offered in richer, somewhat more viscous versions that may be seen on the menus of coffee shops. It is typically supplied in canisters and packs.
You may want to try the delicious gourmet hot chocolate from Suds’n’Soda, but here’s also a recipe if you want to make your comfort drink on your own.
- 1 cup and 1/2 chocolate chips/ chocolate morsels– When it comes to the chocolate morsels, you have the choice of going with high-quality brands that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and you can get them in most grocery stores. You may also want to try Scharffen Berger chocolate chunks, which can be difficult to get in grocery stores. If you want to go with your gourmet approach, Amano is almost universally regarded as the best option, but it must be ordered online.
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder– You can use natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe. The Dutch method results in an alkalinized product. Because this procedure removes part of the bitterness and results in a chocolate flavor that is rich and deep, some people like it for that reason.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- A dash of salt
Gourmet Hot Chocolate Procedure
- Make chocolate chips into a powder or little pebbles by grinding them in a blender or food processor.
- Make a slit down the length of the vanilla bean, then use a knife to scrape off the seeds. Mix the bean seeds and sugar. Apply pressure for approximately one minute.
- Mix vanilla sugar, cocoa, and chocolate. To preserve the cocoa flavor, place the ingredients in a plastic bag and keep them in the dark cabinet or in a paper bag. You might also preserve it in a glass canning jar or a metal tin, either for yourself or to give away as a present. (Just a quick note: containers that are darker in color are preferable to use while keeping chocolate. If chocolate is kept at room temperature for an extended period, its flavor will become less intense. On the other hand, the combination will maintain its high quality for approximately one month when stored in a plastic bag or a jar.
- Whisk together two teaspoons of hot chocolate mix with 8 ounces of piping hot milk for a decadent cup of hot chocolate.
- Allow the chocolate chunks to melt by letting them sit for one minute. Stir. (You may also add a couple of teaspoons of heavy cream as an alternative to make a hot chocolate that is extra-extra creamy!)
- Mix-in options include whipped cream, caramel syrup, crushed peppermint, and anything else that tickles your fancy.
There you have it! Take a book out and get cozy as you sip your gourmet hot chocolate. If you don’t have time to make one, drop by Suds’n’Soda where you can have your car washed while indulging in a cup of hot chocolate