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“Drinking chocolate” made the jump across the Atlantic Ocean to the American colonies early on, certainly not far into the 18th century. By 1712, Boston’s then-equivalent of today’s pharmacists, called apothecaries, were already advertising a chocolate beverage for its curative powers. It wasn’t called drinking chocolate then. It was just chocolate, since “eating chocolate,” the solid chocolate bar, would not be invented until 1847 (by Fry Brothers in Bristol, England).
Later, the term “drinking chocolate” was used to distinguish shaved or ground chocolate mixed with hot milk or water to create a beverage, as opposed to cocoa powder. Drinking chocolate didn’t seem to exist in the U.S. when I was a child, although hot cocoa was certainly around. Within the past ten years, however, gourmet chocolate has become a hot category here, and hot chocolate along with it. Now, instead of the can of Hershey’s or Droste’s from the supermarket, fine hot cocoa and hot chocolate preparations abound—and we’ll be looking at dozens of them in Part 2: Product Reviews.
You can see in the photo of the Schokinag drinking chocolate that the product consists of small pellets of chocolate—not ground cocoa powder, as in the photo of cocoa powder on the previous page. That’s the difference between hot chocolate and cocoa. Because drinking chocolate is made from actual chocolate, it has more cocoa butter and is richer. When the cacao is pressed into cocoa powder, much of the fat is pressed out.
Drinking chocolate had made the jump across the Atlantic Ocean to the American colo stirring stick used by the ancient Olmecs, Mayas and Aztecs to froth their chocolate beverage—you roll it rapidly between your hands). You’re advised, too, to strain the preparation before drinking it if you want to remove the tiny bits of vanilla bean. Even other recipes on the box that call for fewer liquids follow the same lengthy procedure. Does this result in a wonderful hot cocoa? Yes, it does—but so do other formulations with far fewer steps and much less to clean up afterwards.
Continue To Page 3: The Difference Between Cocoa & Hot Chocolate
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