The Mayans first started drinking the beverage over 2000 years ago, though it was quite different than the one we now know. They drank theirs mixed with chillies and sometimes cornmeal. It was a kind of bitter and spicy beverage.
The Spanish brought the drink back to the old world in the 1500s where it was readily adopted by the court of Charles V . From there it spread to the other courts in Europe, and was at first a beverage drank only by the aristocracy due to it's high cost. They drank this version of chocolate with vanilla and spices mixed in hot water.
In the 1600s with the introduction of sugar from the new world, it began to be added to hot chocolate which increased the drink's popularity, though it still remained a pricey item. In the latter part of the century, Hans Sloane, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, visited Jamaica where he tried hot chocolate and found it tasted better with milk. He took the recipe back to England where it was well received by the public.
The next step in the development of this winter mainstay was in 1828, when a Dutchman, Coenraad Johannes Van Houten, made cocoa by pressing the cocoa butter into a powder.
The instant cocoa made the beverage easy to package and sell to households.
The Victorians then came up with the chocolate pot, a variation of the tea pot, for making instant hot chocolate. The pots often had a wooden handle (though some were ceramic) and came with a whisk for frothing together the milk, cocoa and sugar. You could also get pots with a set of cups, some with elaborate designs.
Here are some pictures I found of lovely Victorian chocolate pots and cups.
I also found a site Victorian Trading Co that sells Victorian replica items, including this chocolate pot below. Check the site out.
Are you a hot chocolate fan? What do you like to drink when it gets chilly out?
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