Sipping on a steaming mug of hot cocoa is a great way to warm up on a winter day. Beloved by adults and children alike, drinking hot cocoa evokes cozy feelings that are perfect for the holiday season, especially if you live in a cold climate!
Our appetite for cocoa goes far back in human history. Originating with the Mayans in Mesoamerica, there is evidence that people have been drinking cocoa for thousands of years. However, it wasn’t until Spanish conquistadors brought cacao beans to Europe in the 16th century that chocolate drinks gradually transformed from being cold and bitter, to being hot, sweetened, and milky.
Hot cocoa was an expensive, luxury product that was primarily enjoyed by European aristocrats until the invention of the cocoa press in 1828, which made cocoa powder easier to produce. Since then, cocoa products have become far more accessible and varied, and have risen exponentially in popularity.
If you want a new way to enjoy the beverage that was once only available to European nobility, try new hot cocoa variations on National Cocoa Day, December 13 by experimenting with these suggestions:
- Whipped cream
- Toffee bits
- Crushed candy canes
- Instant coffee powder
- Caramel syrup
- Chili powder
- Peanut butter powder
- Coarse sea salt