Hot cocoa is a beverage that is enjoyed by thousands, perhaps millions, of people every year; as people, we tend to prefer our hot cocoa during the winter months but it is still loved and consumed during the spring & summer as well by the loyal enthusiasts. However, there is some history behind the rich, creamy beverage that greets us with love at every sip. Do you know your hot cocoa knowledge? If not, buckle up, we're going to school.
Hot chocolate aka hot cocoa is a warm beverage that is either made from shave chocolate or powder and then mixed with water or milk and some sugar. For many, milk or dark chocolate is the only way to go but for the more adventurous fans, white hot chocolate is a great way to go.
Legend has it that the first chocolate based drink was made by the Mayans over 2000 years ago; it is also believed the Aztecs made some sort of chocolate beverage since chocolate was a staple of the Aztec diet and culture. When Europeans were discovering the world, they also discovered this chocolate drink by the natives and brought it back with them to the new world.
Did you know there is a distinction between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Well, there is! Hot chocolate is actually creating the luxurious drink from bar chocolate, which contains the sugar, cocoa, and cocoa butter. You shave the bar chocolate and melt it down. Now hot cocoa is making the drink from powder, which has the sugar and cocoa extracted (this is likely what most of us do when we make the beverage). If you make hot cocoa from k cups then you are definitely drinking hot cocoa and not hot chocolate because they can't fit a chocolate bar in those k cups. Sorry.
Hot chocolate is able to be made with dark chocolate, semisweet (which tastes quite a bit like dark), bittersweet, and milk chocolate which is then shaved or chopped into smaller bits and then mixed with milk and sugar and heated. In the United States, we tend to make it from the powder, hot cocoa, which already contains the cocoa, sugar, and some dairy ingredient so we can even make it with water. In the UK, hot chocolate can be thicker than what we see and can be as thick as some pure chocolate kinds.
Hot chocolate also has some health benefits from the antioxidants that are found in chocolate.