Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Love Hot Chocolate! -- a Strategy for Winter 2011

by Valerie Williams-Sanchez on Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:32am

I love hot chocolate! Salted caramel hot coco macchiato, European sipping, or old fashion Americana with 'mallows or whipped cream; I love 'em all. During my daughter's trip here to the East Coast during the Christmas holiday, I was reminded of just how much on our visit to Dylan's Candy Bar.

Now that winter and snow season in New Jersey and New York is squarely upon us, hot chocolate has moved into the top spot for my drink of choice. To make this winter more beararble for me, a So. Cali. native, I plan to get creative with hot chocolate through the winter months, posting findings, photos and recipes of my adventures with hot chocolate.

And this won't just be for kids. Getting back to chocolate's "spirited roots" as described in this historical overview by CusineNet, you can read about hot chocolate's roots and look for suggestions for homemade varietals as well as grown-up versions of this delicious beverage including liquors, cordials and other spirits, too, in later posts.

With such exotic origins, it is no wonder that chocolate is synonomous with exploration and creativity. So, of course, feel free to add to the mix by posting your favorite on the wall.

Winter is looking better already!


A Very Brief History of Hot Chocolate
An excerpt from

Before the British firm of Fry & Sons figured out how to make it into a candy bar in 1847, chocolate had been drunk as a beverage for thousands of years. Chocolate was first brought to Europe by Cortes, who toasted Montezuma with a golden goblet full of the Aztecs' favorite libation before betraying and murdering their proud emperor. However, it seems that the Spaniard liked Montezuma's refreshment almost as much as he liked the golden mugs it was served in. Along with pillaged precious metals and gems, Cortes brought chocolate back to Spain, where the court of King Charles V quickly adopted it. The elite drank their chocolate boiled in wine, heavily spiced and sweetened, and served in deep, straight-sided cups for breakfast. For centuries, Spain had a monopoly on this new elixir, but eventually the secret leaked out into the golden cups of all European monarchs, who began planting cocoa plantations wherever an area of fertile soil and the right climate could be colonized.
Chocolate remained all the rage until the industrial revolution brought forth a less decadent, business-oriented atmosphere, which was more suited to the stimulations of tea and coffee. The mid-nineteenth century saw the innovation of cocoa powder (developed in Holland, hence the term Dutch-processed), which was much less rich and more soluble than chocolate. With it, the drink was relegated to the nursery, since it was digestible enough for children, and nourishing as well.

(c) 2011 Valerie Williams-Sanchez

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