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The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

Things You Didn’t Know About Hot Chocolate!


 Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy something warm on a cold winter day? Hot chocolate is a popular hot beverage that is enjoyed by millions around the world. It is a drink typically associated with winter and the holidays. 

When many people think of hot chocolate, they associate it with the holidays, especially Christmas, but why is that the case? For starters, hot chocolate is a delicious and hot drink that warms you up during a cold day. Chocolate used to be very expensive, consumed only by the rich, but with the invention of instant hot chocolate or instant cocoa by Miss Swiss in the sixties, it made hot chocolate more affordable for the masses. Soon the product was brought around the world, and it made its way into the childhoods of many people. Even if that’s not the case for everyone, there is no doubt that drinking hot chocolate during a cold winter day would brings one a sense of happiness. 

Where did hot chocolate come from? Hot chocolate, though it was much different from the one we know today, had originated from Mexico. Hot chocolate dates back thousands of years, and can be traced to the Olmec, Aztec and Mayan culture of present day Mexico and Central America. As early as 500 BC, the Mayans had been found drinking hot chocolate made with ground-up cocoa seed mixed with water, cornmeal, chili peppers and many other ingredients. The chocolate beverage, which we now called hot chocolate, was originally served cold in Mayan culture and many other early adaptations of the drink. 

Hot chocolate had made its way to Europe as early as the 1500s, by the Spanish conquistadors, such as Hernan Cortes who introduced it to Spain . In Spain, the Spanish made their own adaptations of the beverage, by heating the drink and adding cane sugar to make it sweeter. The beverage became very popular in Spain. However, chocolate at the time was still very expensive, as such the drink was a luxury mostly reserved for the wealthy elites, who could afford it. Eventually, the news of the drink spread to other European countries, such as to Great Britain, where they began to make their own version of the chocolate beverage. 

How did hot chocolate make its way to America? In the early 17th century, the Dutch introduced hot chocolate from Britain to the colonies in North America. The colonists served hot chocolate with milk and sugar like the British, and no other ingredients. Hot chocolate became so popular in the colonies that soon people began selling them in shops. 

To add on to the amazing history of  hot chocolate, here are some fact that you may not know about it:

  1. The Spanish were protective over the new hot beverage and as such it took over a hundred years for it to spread across Europe. 
  2. Hot chocolate was used as treatment for stomach and liver diseases. 
  3. During WWI, in order to help raise morale and energize soldiers, the YMCA sent more than 25,000 volunteers to set up stations that were stocked with many things including cigarettes, magazines, snacks and of course hot chocolate. 
  4. Thomas Jefferson stated that hot chocolate would become more popular in North America than coffee or tea. In the letter he wrote to John Adams he states that, “The superiority of chocolate (hot chocolate), both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.” 
  5. As hot chocolate became more widely consumed in the 16th and 17th centuries, it became a source of  religious controversy, as the debate of whether it was a drink or food emerged. The argument itself was centered around the issue of whether it was alright to consume it while fasting or not. Eventually, Pope Gregory XIII, would decree that drinkable chocolate was fine to consume while fasting. 

With all that said, hot chocolate is a truly delicious drink with a fascinating history. 

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