Hot Chocolate: Your Winter Cup of Comfort and Joy
Whether you’re sipping a delicate cup of chocolat chaud on a chilly spring morning at a cafe on Rue Saint-Sulpice in Paris (we’ve done this, and it is sublime!) or standing on your backyard deck in Minnesota with a giant mug of instant hot cocoa watching the snow fall, there aren’t many other warm beverages quite as satisfying on a cold day. Plus, you can rarely go wrong when chocolate is involved.
Although the terms “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa” are often tossed around interchangeably, hot chocolate is made from ground chocolate containing cocoa butter, while hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder.
The ancient Mayans consumed chocolate by harvesting the seeds from cacao trees. After fermenting, drying, and roasting, they ground the seeds into paste. They often added water, cornmeal, and spices, and then drank the mixture. Europeans were introduced to the drink after it was brought from Mexico. Today, there’s even a National Hot Chocolate Day every year on January 31. No one knows for sure who created this commemorative day, but we’re sure glad someone did!
Everyone has their own unique spin on how best to enjoy a cup, either topped with whipped cream and mini-marshmallows, or a dash of cinnamon and a peppermint stick. Really, is there a wrong way to enjoy hot chocolate?
Instant hot cocoa mixes are convenient, but they’re loaded with extra preservatives, oils, and other undesirable stuff. There are a bunch of recipes out there so you can make your own. Most consist of simple mixtures of confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and instant nonfat dry milk that you can add water to when you’re in need of warm liquid comfort.
If you want to enjoy a cup like the Parisians do, again there are tons of recipes online. Basically, you simply combine melted semi-sweet chocolate, hot water, hot milk and sugar to taste. Et voila!
As if things couldn’t get any sweeter, there are health benefits to drinking hot chocolate as well! Cocoa contains antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. It’s been a longstanding fact that cocoa beans help with digestion, and the flavonoids found in cocoa also have a positive effect on arterial health. As with anything in life, moderation is key.
Next, you need a special vessel to pour your hot cocoa or hot chocolate into. Need some ideas? We thought you’d never ask! Take your winter comfort-and-joy drink experience to the next level with a magic mug. A heat-activated coating makes the magic in these mugs happen. The solid black magic mugs change color with hot liquid to unveil the photo of your choice that you can upload with the help of our handy design tool. Our standard photo mugs are nice as well, when you want to see that special photo of a loved one smiling at you every morning on a photo mugs.
During this wintry time of year, take a sip back in time to your childhood or that foreign trip of a lifetime with a warm chocolatey drink. Whether you like cocoa or chocolate, prefer to mix it with water or milk, make sure you share it with friends and loved ones. Cheers!