Hot chocolate (also known as hot cocoa or just cocoa or chocolate milk or chocolat chaud in French) is a heated beveragetypically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. Drinking chocolate is similar to hot chocolate, but is made from melted chocolate shavings or paste, rather than a powdered mix that is soluble in water, and is usually not as sweet.
The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayas around 2,000 years ago, and a cocoa beverage was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 AD. The beverage became popular in Europe after being introduced from Mexico in the New World, and has undergone multiple changes since then. Until the 19th century, hot chocolate was even used medicinally to treat ailments such as stomach diseases. Today, hot chocolate is consumed throughout the world and comes in multiple variations including the very thick cioccolata densa served in Italy, and the thinner hot cocoa that is typically consumed in the United States.
While hot chocolate is generally consumed for pleasure, there are several potential health benefits associated with drinking hot chocolate. A 2003 study from Cornell University found that cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. Also, the Cocoa Bean has demonstrated evidence that it helps with digestion. From the 16th to 19th centuries, hot chocolate was valued as a medicine as well as a drink. The explorer Francisco Hernández wrote that chocolate beverages helped treat fever and liver disease. Another explorer, Santiago de Valverde Turices, believed that large amounts of hot chocolate was helpful in treating chest ailments, but in smaller amounts could help stomach disorders. When chocolate was introduced to the French in the 17th century, it was reportedly used “to fight against fits of anger and bad moods”, which may be attributed to chocolate’s phenylethylamine content. Today, hot chocolate is consumed for pleasure rather than medicinally, but new research suggests that there may be other health benefits attributed to the drink.
- ^ Grivetti, Louis E.; Howard-Yana Shapiro (2009). Chocolate: history, culture, and heritage. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 9780470121658.
- ^ “Chocolate invented 3,100 years ago by the Aztecs – but they were trying to make beer”. Daily Mail. November 13, 2007
- ^ a b c d e Stradley, Linda (2004). “Rediscover True Hot Chocolate – History of Hot Chocolate”. Linda Stradley. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- ^ a b Morton, Marcia; Frederic Morton (1986). Chocolate, An Illustrated History. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc..
- ^ Friedlander Jr., Blaine (November 20, 2003). “CU scientists tout health punch of cocoa over red wine or green tea”. Cornell Chronicle.
- a b Friedlander Jr., Blaine P. (2003-12-03). “Ahhhh! Better than red wine or green tea, cocoa froths with cancer-preventing compounds, Cornell food scientists say”. Cornell News. Retrieved 2008-07-05.