Monday, December 10, 2007

Marshmallows or no?

After you read this, surf on over to Stinson Brand Innovation and answer the mini poll!

Did you know that there is a difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate with the cocoa butter removed. Hot chocolate is made by melting chocolate into cream. The word cocoa comes from the Aztec word cacahuatl; chocolate derives from the Mayan word xocoatl. The Mexican Indian word chocolat comes from a combination of the terms choco ("foam") and atl ("water"). Chocolate has been drunk as a beverage for thousands of years, and originally it was only consumed as a beverage.

Chocolate has a rich history, and numerous books and articles detail this amazing product (check out The True History of Chocolate, by Sophie and Michael Coe). Here are the highlights from the early period of chocolate’s sorted past:

1502 – Christopher Columbus brought the cocoa bean to Europe for the first time. No one knew what to do with this bitter product.
1519 – Hernan Cortes was introduced to chocolatl, the favored beverage of Emperor Montezuma of the Aztec Empire. Cortes was so enamored with the drink that he filled his ships with cocoa beans.
Late 1500s – Europeans finally get into the game. By this time, chocolate is being used for culinary and medicinal purposes throughout Spain, England, France, and elsewhere in Western Europe and Northern America.
1631 – Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, an Andalusian physician, publishes the first recipe for a chocolate drink. The recipe was a concoction of cocoa bens, chiles, anise, vanilla, cinnamon, almonds, hazelnuts, and sugar, and it was prized as a health drink and aphrodisiac. It was originally served cold, but soon became a hot drink.
1643 – When the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa, was betrothed to Louis XIV of France, she gave her fiancĂ© an engagement gift of chocolate, packaged in an elegantly ornate chest. A royal chocolate maker was appointed and chocolate drinking became the rage.
1648 – Because the women of Chiapas, Mexico were so fond of sipping their chocolate drinks in church, the Bishop of Chiapas tried to ban the drink. He was found dead, supposedly of poisoned chocolate.
1700s – "Chocolate Houses" were all the rage, as popular as coffee houses. These places were precursors of our present day cafes and bars, and they were frequented by politicians, writers, and socialites.

So whether you drink hot cocoa or hot chocolate, whether you like yours with chiles or marshmallows, you now know some of the early history of this wonderful drink!

Share your favorite hot chocolate recipes in a comment!

1 comment:

melanie said...

no matter how you make your hot cocoa/chocolate--always add baileys.

it's just not the holidays, or the winter for that matter, without baileys. in fact i've improved upon the well-known christmas song "jingle bells" to include my favorite winter drink. here it goes.

"jingle baileys, jingle baileys, baileys all the way!"