The world of hot chocolate From Mexico to Spain

For most of us, hot chocolate means one thing; a delicious, comforting beverage that is enjoyed when we need something a little warming. But when you are sipping on your favourite chocolatey drink, or preparing for a foreign holiday have you ever thought about the variations that are drunk around the world?

It may come as a surprise to learn that hot chocolate isn’t only the drink that we know and love here in the UK or US. Around the world, this beverage comes in many different shapes and forms; but one thing that all recipes have in common is that they contain that one special, sweet ingredient – chocolate. Which isn’t that much of a surprise I guess.

A quick introduction to hot chocolate

I’m not sure we need an introduction but before we can dive into the way that it is drunk around the world, it is important to understand a little bit about where it came from.

Hot chocolate is thought to date back thousands of years. But the most famous origin is in Mexico where the Mayans mixed together a combination of ground cocoa seeds, water, and red chillies. The drink made its way over to Europe in the 1700s and the rest, as they say, is history.

Throughout the ages, hot chocolate has been hailed for its health benefits; although don’t go too crazy as it is full of sugar. In ancient times, people believed that the drink would give you magical powers and allow you to do anything!

Different hot chocolates from around the world

Mexico – Champurrado

Let’s start our global journey in the country where it all began. If you head over to Mexico, you will be treated to the champurrado which is beautifully thick and indulgent.

Traditional Mexican Hot Chocolate

While it contains chocolate, the most traditional version of this drink features chocolate atole and you’ll also find masa de maiz which is an ingredient found in tortillas. This is what gives the drink it’s thickness. Ordering one of these in a Mexican cafe means you will also get a churro; a type of sweet fried dough. Yum! Though not so great for the calorie count.

Philippines – Tsokolate

Over in the Philippines, hot chocolate is a much grainier drink packed with chunks of chocolate known as tablea. These are added to the drink and stirred in to give it its flavour. Any that is left over is dropped in to achieve the grainy texture. What makes this drink so popular is that it is incredibly frothy and rich.

Austria – Viennese hot chocolate

There is something remarkably luxurious about the Austrian version of hot chocolate. Imagine heading over to the Austrian Alps for a skiing holiday and indulging in one of these beautiful rich drinks!

Must read article: The best hot chocolate maker

The Viennese hot chocolate is designed for two; a great sharing drink that is one of the richest, darkest, and creamiest of all hot chocolates. It is also very thick and one of the global recipes that contains the most chocolate so it’s certainly perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Lovers of the drink will usually enjoy it with a piece of equally rich cake.

Belgian Hot Chocolate

When you think of chocolate, one of the first countries that springs to mind is Belgium and their take on the hot chocolate is incredibly delicious. What sets this type of hot choccy apart from the rest is that rather than using one type of chocolate, the Belgians throw in several different types with a range from very sweet to very bitter. This gives you one of the most diverse tasting versions of the drink. It is not uncommon to add salt and top it off with layers of frothed milk or whipped cream.

Homemade spicy hot chocolate with cinnamon in enamel mug

India – Chai Hot Chocolate

We couldn’t leave India out of our worldwide hot chocolate tour; this country is famed for its delectable cuisine and their take on hot chocolate is typically, well…Indian. Chai is massive here and so it is only natural that the Indians have incorporated this into their version of hot chocolate.

Here, white chocolate is favoured over other types and this is blended with a mix of spices including cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. It’s certainly a taste explosion. The drink will be served with cinnamon sticks.

Columbia – Chocolate and…. cheese?

If you thought that India’s version of hot chocolate was unique then you will likely be blown away by the recipe from Columbia. Here, food and drink lovers have combined two of the most well-loved ingredients on the planet to create a truly unique drink…hot chocolate and cheese! It might sound a little strange at first but the sweetness of the chocolate combined with the gooey texture of the cheese is surprisingly satisfying. But don’t worry, the cheese isn’t in the drink, it’s served on the side for you to dip in and enjoy.

Italy – Cioccolata Calda

Italy is another country renowned for its cuisine so it comes as no surprise that the Italians have got it sorted when it comes to hot chocolate. Known as cioccolata calda, this thick, rich version of the drink is remarkably similar to what you would get over in Mexico. However, the Italians add corn starch to make the drink one of the thickest on the planet. In Italy, the beverage is most often served with a slice of panettone

France – Chocolat Chaud

The French always like to go one step further where luxury is concerned and their take on hot chocolate is luxury at its finest. Chocolat chaud is a dark, creamy drink made from thick cream and bittersweet chocolate. Served in a small cup, the drink is often paired with a side of cream to scoop in or stir as you please.

Spanish hot chocolate

Made from milk, corn starch, dark chocolate pieces and sugar Spanish hot chocolate is a wonderfully thick and decadent drink.

Spanish hot chocolate with churros

The Spanish love it as a treat for breakfast and its usually accompanied by churros or, at Christmas, special doughnuts.

Around the world in hot chocolate

Hot chocolate has been enjoyed for thousands of years and whether you believe it to be a magical elixir, a health drink or simply something to be enjoyed on a winter’s day, one thing is for sure, everyone loves a good cup of hot chocolate. So much in fact that there is now a National Hot Chocolate Day.

If you’ve been using the same recipe for as long as you can remember, why not mix things up and try one of the many international hot chocolates we’ve talked about here?


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