NJM Blog

The History of Hot Chocolate

The History of Hot Chocolate

Winter weather might not have arrived yet in New Jersey, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a nice warm cup of hot chocolate! Ever wonder where hot chocolate came from?

Hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into cream. The popularity of the drink in America dates back to Colonial times, but that's not where its history begins. It goes back all the way to the time of the Aztecs.

For them, the cocoa bean was very valuable and used as currency, and the beans were given as gifts at special occasions. However, the beans were used to make a chocolate drink that was much different than the hot chocolate we know and love today. The drink was served cold and was flavored with wine and chili peppers!

The drink didn't reach Europe until the early 1500s, when explorer Don Hernán Cortés brought chocolate to Spain. There they drank the chocolate hot, sweetened, and without peppers. The Spanish were very protective of their drink and it took more than 100 years before the news of it spread across Europe.

Hot chocolate finally made it to London in the 1700s. It was there that the English added milk and enjoyed it as an after-dinner drink. It has continued to evolve over the years and in different countries.

Today, hot chocolate varies depending on where you are. In North America, it comes in instant form made of cocoa powder, sugar, and dry milk, and is often topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.

In Mexico, it is also served in instant form, but is made from hard, semi-sweet chocolate with added milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Europeans serve it in a form much thicker than Americans are used to, whole Italian hot chocolate is so thick that it's more like a pudding and is served with a spoon.

Regardless of how it's made, hot chocolate continues to be a popular drink around the world. So add your favorite ingredients, sit back, and enjoy!