The word ‘hot chocolate’ is enough to evoke warm, fuzzy, cosy, happy emotions in anyone. This delightful, cocoa-based hot beverage has been long associated with chilly winter weathers to sip on and relax. But, contrary to this popular belief, did you know that some cultures encourage the drink to be had first thing in the morning as part of breakfast?
In Spain, hot chocolate is a traditional workman’s meal with a side of churros as an energy boost for the day. While in Nigeria, it is consumed as commonly as ‘tea’. The hot chocolate was originally discovered as early as 500 B.C by Mexicans in a much different version from what we know as hot chocolate today.
The Mayans back then were drinking chocolate with ingredients like ground-up cocoa seeds, water, cornmeal and (brace yourselves) chilli peppers! Each culture has its version through preparation technique or by adding a range of toppings that enhance flavours and perhaps, even be good for health.
With ingredients like cocoa powder, milk, and unique combinations like hot chocolate with ashwagandha in India- hot chocolate may not just be a delicious, soothing drink. Still, it could be the perfect healthy elixir in your kitchen.
What Is Hot Chocolate?
For those living under a rock (don’t blame us, this drink is just that good to be missed), hot chocolate is a heated drink that consists of shaved, melted or powdered chocolate mixed with hot milk or water and sweetened with sugar. There are many types of hot chocolates:
- The traditional hot chocolate is made from semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate grated or stirred in hot milk and sugar.
- Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder made with a thinner consistency and is creamier and sweeter than hot chocolate. It is mixed with hot milk or water and sweetened with sugar.
- The king of convenience, the instant hot chocolate mix with key ingredients like cocoa powder, powdered milk, sugar and stabilisers or thickeners in varied ratios, gives the creamy final result. Mix this with water or milk for the final result.
Hot chocolate is often served in large cups with a variety of toppings that make it irresistible. These include whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate dust, chocolate shavings; the list is endless!
Health Benefits Of Hot Chocolate
- Cocoa is great for the heart. Rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, it has a range of benefits like reducing inflammation to enhancing immune systems.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Can reduce levels of cholesterol
- Aids in boosted memory
- Increased happiness levels owing to a boost in mood-lightening serotonin
- General overall well being with a boost in the relaxing hormone tryptophan
If you are looking for the best hot chocolate drinks in the world, browse below and try them at home!
Interesting Add-ons for Hot Chocolate
Ashwagandha Hot Chocolate
Probably a combination unheard of but oh-so-divine, Auric’s Ashwagandha Hot Chocolate tops the list of healthy drinks power-packed with vitamins, minerals and good taste! Ashwagandha is a non-toxic medicinal herb used from time immemorial to treat a range of conditions like insomnia, rheumatism etc. Also known as the Indian ginseng, it offers numerous benefits to our body like:
- Boost brain function
- Lower stress by reducing cortisol spikes
- Lower blood sugar
- Fight anxiety
- Improve concentration
- It may have anti-cancer properties
- May increase fertility in Men
- Can increase muscle strength
And many more. When you mix hot chocolate with ashwagandha, you get to experience a unique and healthy combination of taste and nutrition. Worried about the taste of Ashwagandha? Try out Auric Ashwagandha Hot Chocolate, where the finest cocoa beans are used to give you the luxury of premium chocolate in taste and super nutrition with zero taste of ashwagandha in it.
Suitable for a busy lifestyle, the ashwagandha hot chocolate mix is perfect to catch a few minutes to slow down in your day and relax. Mix 1 spoon full of the hot chocolate with ashwagandha mix into 200 ml of hot milk and a sweetener as per your taste. Stir well and enjoy the goodness from zero preservatives, artificial flavours and emulsifiers. Know all about Auric's Ashwagandha Hot Chocolate.
Almond/Cashew/Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate
The latest fad in hot beverages is the addition of plant-based drinks. If you are looking for gluten and dairy-free options in a healthy hot chocolate drink, opt for plant-based milk made from Almond, cashew or coconuts.
They give the same consistency as dairy-based drinks without the enzyme that creates digestive issues while offering several vitamins and minerals. Nut based milk is loaded with healthy unsaturated fat, protein and other goodness that boosts heart health, lower blood sugar, promote eye health and many more.
Unsweetened cashew milk seems to be the best choice in hot chocolate for its decadent taste and creaminess in texture. However, depending on your taste, choose unsweetened milk with no-calorie sweeteners to take it up a notch higher on the health track. To make the drink, warm the chosen milk, add a mix like an ashwagandha hot chocolate and stir. Drop a dollop of raw honey or syrup for a taste.
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
A hot holiday season favourite, pumpkin spice reigns the October to December season. The traditional mix includes pumpkin puree with savoury spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice etc., with cocoa powder, milk, and sugar. A sip of this delectable, warm drink can burst your taste buds wanting more.
Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
Another holiday season favourite that tops the list during winters, this cocoa powder based drink is insanely warm, naturally gluten-free and perfect for the cold weather. Cinnamon has anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties that work great to boost immunity and reduce inflammations in the body.
It is also a magical spice used to lower blood sugar, relieve digestive issues with other invaluable benefits. When making this drink, use a healthy option like Ashwagandha Hot chocolate for its rich chocolate taste and additional health benefits from the herb Ashwagandha. Top with marshmallows and cinnamon sticks, and a dash of cocoa powder to finish the drink.
Keto Hot Chocolate
A keto hot chocolate is as creamy, delicious and bittersweet as regular hot chocolate. Made with half and a half or plant-based milk, sweeteners, unsweetened cocoa powder like Ashwagandha Hot chocolate, 1 tbsp of blended chia seeds ( as a thickener). Enjoy this delicious, thick, creamy hot chocolate with ashwagandha and other nutritious ingredients- absolutely guilt-free!
Protein-Rich Hot Chocolate
Are you aware of protein powders and whey protein: all you need to know? This recipe requires non-dairy milk that is neutral in flavour (think soy, almond or oat milk). Add unsweetened cocoa powder to warm milk to boost the flavour of chocolate in the drink. Add a crystal sweetener like coconut sugar or cane sugar to keep the calorie count low. Now the most important ingredient, a high-quality chocolate protein powder. Enjoy this protein-packed drink, hot or cold, depending on your choice.
Hot Chocolate With A Twist
While we’ve listed some of the best and most tried out hot chocolate drinks globally, try out other hot chocolate recipes with an unexpected but pleasant twist in flavour. To your mixture of hot chocolate with Ashwagandha and milk, add the following variations:
- Vanilla bean with coconut butter
- Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg hot chocolate
- Blended banana to add creaminess and flavour to the cocoa powder based hot chocolate
- Drops of peppermint extract, lavender extract etc. added to hot chocolate
- Cayenne Pepper and Cinnamon Hot chocolate
- Coconut Tres Leches Hot chocolate- coconut milk, condensed milk and hot chocolate
- Salted Peanut Butter Hot chocolate
The recipe is pretty much standard with a minimum of 3 ingredients, extending to an endless list! Pick your flavours and stir them in to create a delightful chocolatey treat.
Toppings For The Best Hot Chocolate Drink
Now that you’ve mastered the different varieties of hot chocolate, including unique combinations like hot chocolate with ashwagandha, let’s take a look at toppings that enhance this hot beverage’s experience.
- Crushed peppermint
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate chips
- Himalayan salt
- Caramel sauce
- Sugar sprinkles
- Dark chocolate syrup
- Toffee bits
Get creative with these toppings and other dipping treats like oat cookies, wafers, candy sticks, etc., to tickle your tastebuds as you sip into a cup of cocoa heaven!