Last week saw the first major snow fall of the season here in Toronto, signalling the arrival of winter and the approaching holiday season. One of the classic drinks enjoyed during these frosty days is hot chocolate, and we serve up plenty of these, complete with house-made marshmallows on top.

Demetres' Hot Couture drink

Not all hot chocolates are prepared this way however, and many people enjoy them all year round. Read on to see what we dug up about the various takes on this sweet beverage around the world!

 

Mexico

One of most common ways to make hot chocolate at home here in Canada is to pick up a tin of hot cocoa powder and dissolve it in hot milk or water until a thin chocolate slurry forms. The Mexican homemade version is a tad more exciting. Involving a solid hunk of chocolate that also contains traces of cinnamon, vanilla, almonds and pecans that is then dissolved in hot water, milk or cream – this version packs a delicious punch. Can’t get your hands on one of these magical discs? Try this recipe here that breaks them down to their most basic ingredients.

 

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Colombia

While making hot chocolate in Colombia also involves dissolving solid chocolate in heated milk, there’s one secret ingredient that makes it undeniably Colombian: cheese. To try this at home, pop a few chunks of your favourite soft cheese at the bottom of the mug before topping it up with freshly made hot chocolate, and let the cheese melt before digging into this salty sweet gooey concoction. 😋

 

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Spain

Across the pond, Spain is serving up thick creamy cups of hot chocolate thanks to the thickening powers of cornstarch. Yes you read that right. The ingredient that gives Chinese stir-fry their glossy coating is also responsible for creating a much thicker cup of hot chocolate than what we’re accustomed to here. All the better to dunk those churros in, right?

 

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San Blas Islands (Panama)

On the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean Sea lives the Kuna people who, along with an appreciation for cocoa, also boast remarkable cardiovascular health. Researchers have attributed this to their high consumption of a particular drink: hot cocoa to be exact.

But don’t get all excited and start guzzling – their hot cocoa is made much differently than what we’ve seen so far. What makes their version particularly healthy and good for the heart is the use of bananas as a replacement for milk and sugar. Want to try your hand at making a cup? Use this recipe.

Kuna Hot Chocolate

Photo courtesy of Hazel Lee

 

Belgium

Belgian hot chocolate is perhaps what most people think of when they want something a step above the cocoa-powder-dissolved-in-hot-water drinks of our youth, but don’t want to get too fancy with the incorporation of spices et al. Keeping it simple with the focus squarely on the chocolate, try this recipe by David Lebovitz, which uses both semisweet and milk chocolate.

Our Hot Couture drinks use authentic Belgian chocolates and Ontario milk to deliver that smooth chocolatey taste.

 

Vienna, Austria

Perhaps not the biggest fans of cornstarch in their hot chocolate, some folks in Vienna choose to use egg yolks as their thickening agent instead. Rich, chocolatey, and a tad on the heavier side, this variation can serve as both hot drink and dessert. Try your hand at whisking up a cup via the instructions here.

 

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That wraps up our little hot chocolate tour. If you’ve had a unique hot chocolate experience, share it with us over on Instagram (@demetres) or Facebook, and check back next week for more wintertime treats. ✌️

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