The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”
For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Hot Chocolate.
The Facts: The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayan peoples around 2000 years ago, and a cocoa beverage was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 A.D.
- To make the chocolate drink, which was served cold, the Maya ground cocoa seeds into a paste and mixed it with water, cornmeal, chili peppers, and other ingredients.
- January 31st is National Hot Chocolate Day.
- Americans have come to use the terms “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa” interchangeably, obscuring the considerable difference between the two. “Hot cocoa” is made from powder made by extracting most of the rich cocoa butter from the ground cacao beans. “Hot chocolate,” on the other hand, is made directly from bar chocolate, which already contains cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. Thus the major difference between the two is the cocoa butter, which makes hot cocoa significantly lower in fat than hot chocolate, while still preserving all the intrinsic health-giving properties of chocolate.
- Hot chocolate can be made with dark, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces and stirred into milk with the addition of sugar.
- 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.
- A study conducted by Cornell University has shown that hot chocolate contains more antioxidants than wine and tea, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease.