We’ve got to share with you the good news! It’s that time of year now where the nights are dark earlier, it’s cold and a little damp – making it the perfect time to snuggle up with a luxurious hot chocolate made from flakes of delicious, real milk and dark chocolate, or a delicious oat m!lk. A recent study indicates that drinking hot chocolate is good for your mental agility!
The drinking chocolate we enjoy today doesn’t really resemble its origins, from 4500 years ago in Central America – a strong, bitter drink made with water and spices. Prized as a healthy food and stimulant it was believed to be a divine gift from the Goddess Ixcacao, associated with fertility and regeneration.
In 1502, it made its way over to the Spanish court after being discovered by Christopher Columbus on his travels, but it was discarded as a bizarre concoction, not gaining any recognition until a further decade passed – when with the addition of sugar, it began to be more appreciated.
The marriage of the Spanish and French royalty resulted in this now sweetened drink growing in popularity throughout Europe and the first chocolate house opened in 1657 in London.
These chocolate houses were not quite the demure elegant places you may imagine, but were famously dubbed “the bane of the English nobility” by Jonathan Swift (best known for writing Gulliver’s travels) Others spoke of the chocolate houses as “the most fashionable hell in London.” We must remember this was a new, and unknown exotic drink that had arrived in England from Europe, and it quickly became associated with the wealthy and privileged – an exclusive drink thought to offer powerful aphrodisiacal properties. These chocolate houses became places for rich and wealthy men to get together, and things often out of hand, as depicted in artists works of the time. In 1770 Marie Antoinette bestowed the title “By Appointment to the Queen” on her personal chocolate maker and our European style drinking chocolate was here to stay.
Today, there is still much to be said about the healthy properties of dark chocolate, and a recent study from Birmingham University indicates that a cocoa drink high in flavanols can increase your mental agility – so whether you like a rich, dark bitter tasting chocolate seasoned with spices, or a more delicate flavour infused offering, drinking chocolate could do you some good. Now I don’t know about you, but I need no more of a reason to enjoy a delicious mug of hot choc!
Here at Choc Affair, we make our hot chocolates from 5kg blocks of tempered chocolate, carefully flaked to create a smooth deliciously decadent drinking chocolate. You can always go one step further and explore a world of flavour with the addition of fruits and spices. Drinking chocolate is delicious when infused with curry powder, chilli, cayenne and turmeric, or add raspberry powder for a more fruity flavour. Have fun with it, but remember to go steady on the amount you add, a small pinch can go a long way!