Do you ever treat yourself to a hot cup of cocoa before going to bed? This can be a cosy treat, even though many people see drinking chocolate as something of a childish indulgence. This should not be the case, as there are all kinds of sophisticated, elegant and innovative mixing methods that create delicious products that any adult is sure to enjoy and feel content after consuming. |
A Brief History
Long before we curled up on the sofa under a woolly blanket with a cup of warm cocoa, it was enjoyed in ancient Mesoamerica as a much stronger and more bitter beverage. In this time, it was viewed as a nourishing drink that would give the consumer strength. In fact, it was once only given to men who went to war as part of their rations during Aztec emperor Montezuma the Second’s reign. This is because it was seen as a symbol of power and reserved only for warriors – drinking chocolate doesn’t sound so childish now, does it?
In the seventeenth century, conquistadors brought chocolate back to Spain where it became a beverage for the elite and aristocratic. It would become more widespread and popular when various ingredients were added to create sweeter flavours, including sugar, milk, cinnamon, almonds and various other additions.
However, the beverage retained an image of power, strength and resilience. It helped to fuel many teams of explorers and major expeditions to the North and South Poles, whilst hot cocoa was also consumed regularly on the front lines in many wars dating back through the centuries. This includes World War I, when volunteers were sent to military units and bases where they would supply soldiers with food, cigarettes and hot cocoa after battle.
It also featured in World War II, when a disc of sweetened cocoa became part of the famous C-Ration for American soldiers in 1944. The C-Ration was later replaced with the MCI (Meal, Combat, Individual), which would contain cocoa packets and it is still included in today’s MREs (which began to replace MCIs in the 70s).
Whilst there are many sweeter variations that dominate the shelves, you will also find plenty of brands that allude to this powerful, rich and strong heritage where drinks are made with real chocolate or cocoa powder. Many also contain flavours for a more mature pallet, with spices and alcohol utilised for a fiery and belly-warming beverage.
These stronger and more mature beverages will have your customers feeling more Aztec warrior than a small child! Drinking chocolate may have an image of youth and wrapping up warm by the fire at home, but history shows that this has a reputation as a sacred and nourishing beverage that helped many people to rise up and show themselves to be great.
With so many wonderful and innovative variations and mixing methods, it also means that every consumer can find a type of hot beverage that they can enjoy as the perfect naughty nightcap.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established suppliers of wholesale chocolates with decades of experience supplying all sorts of confectionery from sweets to drinking chocolate to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
Related Articles -