A charming Continental cup of hot chocolate. Photo by Dragan Sasic | SXC.
Gourmet Cocoas & Hot Chocolates
The Ultimate Comfort Food?
There is a difference between cocoa and hot chocolate. Cocoa is made from cocoa powder, hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars. Both are mixed with hot milk or water, but since cocoa powder is defatted, hot chocolate is a richer beverage. It can easily have double the cocoa butter of cocoa powder.
Hot chocolate was invented by the Swiss, who first thought to shave a bar and mix it with boiled milk. Cocoa powder was invented by the Dutch. And it must be remembered that more than 2,000 years ago, enjoyment of chocolate began as a spiced cold beverage, cacahuatl (ka-KWA-tay), enjoyed by the Olmecs and later the Mayas and Aztecs.* It brought back to Spain by Cortès in 1527 and was not made into a solid food—pudding and pastilles—until 1674.
TRIVIA: In 1785, Thomas Jefferson predicted that chocolate (the term then for hot chocolate, as solid chocolate had not yet been invented) would become the favorite beverage in the U.S.—over coffee and tea. This prediction came after the Boston Tea Party and prior to the widespread consumption of coffee in America.
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*Most likely man began eating the fruit in the pod; the roasting of the seeds in the fire, the beginning of the chocolate-making process, was likely a happy accident. The Olmec word, kakawa, evolved into the Mayan word is xocolatl, cho-co-lah-tay; cacahuatl, pronounced ca-ca-WHA-tay, is the Aztec word.
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