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National Hot Chocolate Day (January 31)

Check out the weird holiday National Hot Chocolate Day on January 31. Learn the history of hot chocolate, and get ideas on how to celebrate.

One weird holiday on January 31 is National Hot Chocolate Day. Check out the other weird January holidays!

History of National Hot Chocolate Day

Did you know that there’s actually a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

Hot chocolate is made with ground chocolate beans, heated milk or water, and sometimes sugar. It’s more like a coffee or tea than the smooth, sweet, creamy drink we typically think of.

Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar.

In the United States, we use the two terms interchangeably, but other countries in the world have a firm distinction between the two unique beverages.

Hot chocolate has been around for much longer than hot cocoa. Around 500 BC, the ancient Mayans drank hoto chocolate made from crushing cocoa seeds and mixing it into water. They also added chili peppers!

In 1400 AD, the Aztecs were also drinking their own variation of hot chocolate. When Europeans began to explore the Americas, they brought hot chocolate back with them.

In the Victorian and Regency eras, hot chocolate was considered beneficial for digestive health issues and was often prescribed as medicine. Nowadays we know that cocoa has antioxidants that may help prevent cancer, and the flavonoids are beneficial to arterial health and memory.

Cowboys in the early days of the United States drank hot chocolate (which was just as bitter as coffee) around the campfire.

In the early 1800s, a father and son team of chemists developed a process to remove cocoa solids from the butter. The father, Casparus van Houten Sr. was the one to develop the separation process, then his son Coenraad Johannes made it so the fats could be dissolved into water.

Sweet milk chocolate was then created in 1876 by the Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter. He was the first to create milk chocolate by mixing in powdered milk with chocolate.

In 1948, Nesquick began selling the first chocolate milk powder that could be mixed in with milk. It could be drunk cold or heated up into hot cocoa.

It wasn’t until 1961 that sweet, creamy hot cocoa could be made with water instad of milk. This process was developed by Swiss Miss, who began selling powdered mixes.

In 2004, Starbucks began serving hot chocolate on their menu. That same year, the movie Polar Express was released with a musical scene about serving hot chocolate.

If you love this holiday, you’ll also love National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27) and Chocolate Covered Cherry Day (January 3)!

Ideas for National Hot Chocolate Day

In order to keep the celebration lasting all day long, like at work or just at home, give this amazingly delicious and creamy slow cooker hot chocolate a try!

You can also experiment with these unique hot chocolate recipes.

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