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Hot, Dark and Chocolaty

Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can’t put your feet on, never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline, don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

First believed to have been created by the Mayans 3000 years ago, this drink has been popularized across the world transitioning from religious or medicinal purposes to being a luxurious and recreational or comfort concoction. Popularly known as hot chocolate or cocoa, (aka drinking chocolate and chocolate tea in Nigeria); it would be a grave error for any chocolate fan to give this drink a miss.

“Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a long time.” Henri Frederic Amiel

Hot chocolate comes in multiple variations including the Latin American spiced chocolate para mesa, the very thick Italian cioccolata calda, Spannish chocolate a la taza to the thinner hot cocoa consumed in the United States. The distiction between “hot cocoa” (from powder made by removing most of the rich cocoa butter from the ground cacao beans) and “hot chocolate” ( melt bar chocolate, already rich in cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter) lies in the cocoa butter, the absence of which makes hot cocoa significantly lower in fat than hot chocolate while still preserving all the antioxidants found in chocolate.

“Some days you get up and you already know that things aren’t going to go well. They’re the type of days when you should just give in, put your pajamas back on, make some hot chocolate and read comic books in bed with the covers up until the world looks more encouraging. Of course, they never let you do that.” Bill Watterson

Add a higher percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, eliminate or decrease the sugar and voila, dark chocolate (also known as black chocolate, plain chocolate, or bitter chocolate) is ready. Although the percentages may vary as per brand, government and industry regulations; dark chocolate has taken the 21st century by storm. Either way, hot or cold; dark or light, bitter or milky; chocolate still reigns supreme among the desserts, gifts, treats and moments of deliciousness and is here to stay.

“You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about.” Ray Nagin