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National Hot Chocolate Day

As the chill of winter wraps around us all, there’s one day that stands out as a beacon of warmth and comfort: National Hot Chocolate Day. Celebrated by chocolate lovers and warmth seekers alike, this special, yet unofficial day offers the perfect excuse to indulge in one of the world’s most beloved hot drinks.

Winter Warmth and Comfort

National Hot Chocolate Day is more than just an opportunity for a chocolatey treat; it’s a day that brings together history, culture, and the simple joy of savouring a moment of warmth in the cold winter months.

From the ancient Mayans to the bustling cafes of London, hot chocolate has journeyed through centuries, evolving from a sacred ceremonial drink to a winter comfort staple. When the weather calls for cosy comforts, hot chocolate takes centre stage, offering a delightful respite from the brisk air. Whether it’s through a luxurious sip of a bean-to-bar, gourmet blend or the simple pleasure of a homemade cup, National Hot Chocolate Day should be celebrated with enthusiasm across the country.

What Makes National Hot Chocolate Day Special?

But what makes this day so special, and how can you make the most of it?

As we dive into the rich history and delicious traditions of hot chocolate, we’ll explore how to celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day in style, from the best hot chocolate available to innovative recipes that will transform your home into a haven of chocolatey delight.

And for those looking to elevate their hot chocolate experience, perhaps today is the day to invest in the Velvetiser by Hotel Chocolat – a revolutionary gadget that’s changing the way we enjoy our favourite winter drink.

Join us as we embark on a journey through the warmth and chocolatey goodness of National Hot Chocolate Day, discovering the best ways to celebrate, the most delicious recipes to try, and the fascinating stories behind this cherished beverage. Whether you’re a long-time hot chocolate aficionado or new to the delights of this comforting drink, there’s no better time to explore the rich flavours and heartwarming traditions that make hot chocolate a winter favourite.

The Rich History of Hot Chocolate

While the comforting warmth of hot chocolate is a familiar sensation to many, the origins of this much-loved drink are as rich and complex as its flavour. Tracing back over 3000 years, the journey of hot chocolate begins with the ancient civilisations of Central and South America. Unlike the sweet, warm drink we enjoy today, the initial concoctions were a far cry from modern expectations, offering a glimpse into the beverage’s profound evolution.

From Ancient Rituals to Royal Courts

The Mayans, revered as the earliest hot chocolate connoisseurs, consumed it as a bitter, frothy drink mixed with spices or corn puree. It wasn’t merely a culinary delight but a ceremonial brew, integral to rituals and rites of passage. This sacred beverage, known as “xocolātl,” meaning “bitter water,” was believed to confer strength and vitality. As the tradition passed to the Aztecs, chocolate continued to hold a prestigious status, often reserved for warriors, nobility, and priests, symbolising both power and divine favour.

The transformation of hot chocolate from an elite nectar to a household staple began with its introduction to Europe in the 16th century. Spanish conquistadors brought the precious cocoa beans back from the New World, along with the knowledge of preparing chocolate. However, the European palate, unaccustomed to the bitterness, led to the addition of sugar and honey, transforming it into a sweet, luxurious drink that quickly became a favourite among the Spanish nobility.

Innovation and Inclusion

As hot chocolate’s popularity spread across Europe, it became a symbol of sophistication and luxury, enjoyed in exclusive chocolate houses and royal courts. The 17th and 18th centuries saw hot chocolate becoming a fashionable drink across the continent, with each country adding its unique twist. In France, it was often flavoured with vanilla or spices, while in Italy, it was sometimes thickened with egg yolk.

The industrial revolution of the 19th century democratised hot chocolate, making it accessible to the masses. The invention of the cocoa press by Coenraad Johannes van Houten, which separated cocoa butter from roasted cocoa beans, resulted in a more consistent and soluble cocoa powder. This innovation paved the way for the mass production of hot chocolate, allowing everyone to enjoy the warmth and comfort of this drink, regardless of social standing.

A Modern-Day Comfort

Today, hot chocolate is celebrated worldwide, with each culture adding its unique signature. From the spiced versions of Mexico to the thick and creamy Italian “cioccolata calda,” hot chocolate remains a versatile and beloved drink. In the UK, the tradition of hot chocolate is embraced with a passion, especially on National Hot Chocolate Day, where it symbolises warmth, comfort and the simple pleasures of life.

As we celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day, we’re not just indulging in a delicious drink; we’re partaking in a rich tapestry of history that spans continents and centuries. It’s a moment to reflect on the journey of hot chocolate from the sacred rituals of ancient civilisations to the cosy moments of today’s kitchen gatherings. Each sip is a homage to the enduring legacy of this timeless beverage.

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day in the UK

National Hot Chocolate Day in the UK is not just a day; it’s an experience, enveloping the senses in the rich, creamy delight of hot chocolate. Across the country, from the highlands of Scotland to the bustling streets of London, this day should be marked with enthusiasm, creativity, and, of course, lots of chocolate.

Here are some unique ways to celebrate, along with suggestions for making the most of this deliciously warm occasion.

1. Try a New Hot Chocolate Adventure

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day offers the perfect excuse to experiment with new recipes. The UK’s love for hot chocolate has inspired a myriad of variations, from the addition of peppermint or orange zest to the indulgence of salted caramel or hazelnut.

Hotel Chocolat offers a wide range of flavours, so why not treat yourself to one of their popular selection boxes and try something new!

Hotel Chocolat The Everything Hot Chocolate Sachet Selection

Alternatively, why not try creating a hot chocolate that incorporates traditional British ingredients, like a splash of Earl Grey to add a uniquely aromatic twist? The possibilities are endless, and the day is an open invitation to mix, melt, and sip your way to chocolatey perfection.

2. Host a Warm Winter Chocolate Party

What better way to celebrate than by hosting a hot chocolate gathering with friends and family?

Transform your living room into a cosy café, complete with a DIY hot chocolate bar. Offer a variety of toppings and mix-ins, such as whipped cream, marshmallows, spices, and chocolate shavings, allowing guests to customise their drinks.

It’s a fun, interactive way to enjoy the day and create lasting memories.

3. Sip and Screen: A Hot Chocolate Movie Marathon

Sometimes, the best celebrations are the simplest ones. Mark the occasion by watching your favourite film or a British classic, a mug of hot chocolate in hand. The comforting warmth of the drink paired with the magic of cinema makes for a perfect winter evening, celebrating the day in a relaxed, enjoyable manner.

4. Discover the Best Hot Chocolate Haunts

The UK is home to many cafes and restaurants renowned for their exceptional hot chocolate. A visit to one of these spots can turn National Hot Chocolate Day into a memorable adventure.

Hotel Chocolat offers a unique experience with their in-store cafes, serving up luxurious hot chocolate made from their premium chocolate. Their Velvetiser barista-grade hot chocolate is not to be missed, offering a taste of gourmet hot chocolate that’s rich, smooth, and utterly indulgent.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Knoops store nearby, then you should definitely be paying them a visit.

And don’t forget your local independent cafe or specialist chocolate shop. Many of them offer up some wonderful chocolatey goodness.

5. UK Hot Chocolate Events

Keep an eye out for special events and offerings from local cafes and restaurants. Many establishments celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day with special menus, discounts, or themed events, turning the day into a nationwide festival of chocolate. From chocolate-making workshops to hot chocolate tasting sessions, these events offer a delightful way to explore the depth and variety of hot chocolate.

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day in the UK is about embracing the warmth, comfort, and joy that hot chocolate brings into our lives. Whether it’s through trying a new recipe, gathering with loved ones, enjoying a quiet night in, or exploring the country’s best hot chocolate spots, there are countless ways to make the day special.

So, grab your favourite mug, and let’s toast to the sweetest day of the year!

Delicious Hot Chocolate Recipes to Try at Home

Whether you’re snuggled up against the brisk weather or simply in need of a comforting treat, a mug of hot chocolate is a timeless remedy.

In honour of National Hot Chocolate Day, we’ve curated a selection of recipes that range from the classic to the contemporary, including indulgent options for those with dietary preferences. And for aficionados of the ultimate chocolate experience, we’ve included recipes that make the most of Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser, ensuring every cup is nothing short of perfection.

Classic British Hot Chocolate

Start with the basics—a creamy, rich, and utterly satisfying classic hot chocolate that never goes out of style.

  • 230ml whole milk
  • 50g of your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • A dollop of whipped cream, for serving
  • A sprinkle of cocoa powder or chocolate shavings, for garnish

Gently heat the milk in a saucepan until steaming. Whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Pour into a mug, top with whipped cream, and garnish with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

If you want to indulge that little bit further, froth it up with a cheap hand-held milk frother from Amazon. As much as I love my Velvetiser, if preparing my hot chocolate on the stove, this adds a real touch of magic!

Velvetiser Signature Hot Chocolate

For those lucky enough to own a Velvetiser, this recipe guarantees a barista-grade hot chocolate at home.

  • 35g Hotel Chocolat’s hot chocolate flakes (there’s so many to choose from)
  • 230ml milk of your choice

Add the chocolate flakes and milk to the Velvetiser. Press the button and wait for the cycle to complete. Serve in your favourite mug for a truly luxurious hot chocolate experience.

It’s so simple and yet so satisfying.

Vegan Spiced Orange Hot Chocolate

This dairy-free and vegan-friendly recipe brings a zesty twist to the traditional hot chocolate, warming you from the inside out.

  • 230ml almond milk or any plant-based milk
  • 50g dairy-free dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Zest of 1 orange

Heat the plant-based milk in a saucepan with the orange zest and spices until steaming. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Strain into a mug to remove the zest and serve immediately.

Luxury Velvetiser Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

Elevate your hot chocolate game with this nutty, indulgent recipe designed for the Velvetiser.

  • 35g Hotel Chocolat’s hazelnut chocolate flakes
  • 220ml whole milk or hazelnut milk for an extra nutty flavour

Combine the chocolate flakes and milk in the Velvetiser. Once the cycle is complete, pour into a mug and enjoy the rich, comforting flavours of hazelnut and chocolate in every sip.

The Best Hot Chocolates and Where to Find Them in the UK

In the quest for the perfect mug of hot chocolate, the UK offers a treasure trove of luxurious options that cater to every taste, from the rich and creamy to the exotic and spicy.

Among the plethora of choices, certain brands stand out for their quality, uniqueness, and commitment to the chocolate craft.

Here, we explore some of the top-rated hot chocolates available in the UK, including the exquisite range from Hotel Chocolat, Knoops’ innovations and a selection of craft chocolate artisans, and guide you on where to find these heavenly concoctions.

Knoops: Crafting Personalised Hot Chocolate Bliss

Knoops hot chocolate

Knoops, an innovative hot chocolate brand, is revolutionising the way we enjoy hot chocolate in the UK. With a meticulous approach to crafting the perfect cup, Knoops offers an unparalleled hot chocolate experience that caters to individual tastes and preferences.

Where to Buy: Knoops has several locations across the UK, including its original store in the charming town of Rye, East Sussex and other stores across much of the UK. For those who wish to recreate the Knoops experience at home, their meticulously sourced chocolate flakes are available for purchase in-store and online through their website and on Amazon.

Hotel Chocolat’s Range

Hotel Chocolat, a beloved British chocolatier, offers an impressive array of hot chocolate flakes that promise a gourmet experience. Their range includes classic options as well as innovative flavours like Salted Caramel and Hazelnut. What sets Hotel Chocolat apart is its use of high-quality cocoa beans and a unique process that ensures each cup is rich, smooth, and utterly indulgent.

  • Where to Buy: Hotel Chocolat’s hot chocolate range is available in their stores across the UK and online on their website or at Amazon. They also offer the Velvetiser, a bespoke hot chocolate maker that crafts barista-grade hot chocolate at home.

Ruby Hue Hot Chocolate

Best hot chocolate in Bristol | Ruby Hue

For those seeking something truly delicious, Ruby Hue Hot Chocolate offers a range of beautifully crafted bean-to-bar hot chocolates either in-store or online.

It’s a must-try for adventurous chocolate lovers looking to explore new taste sensations.

Firetree’s Volcanic Hot Chocolate

Firetree volcanic hot chocolate

Firetree Chocolate brings to the table its Volcanic Hot Chocolate, crafted from cocoa sourced from volcanic islands. This premium hot chocolate mix is celebrated for its deep, rich flavours and hints of exotic fruits, offering a taste experience that’s as intense as it is satisfying.

Island Chocolate’s Signature Hot Chocolate

Islands hot chocolate selection

Island Chocolate prides itself on its bean-to-bar process, ensuring that each cup of hot chocolate is of the highest quality. Their Signature Hot Chocolate is made from single-origin cocoa, offering a rich and complex flavour profile that’s a testament to the care and passion that goes into its production.

  • Where to Buy: Directly from the Islands Chocolate website, this exquisite hot chocolate mix is available for chocolate aficionados across the UK.

Whether you’re a traditionalist who craves the creamy comfort of a classic hot chocolate or an explorer eager to taste the exotic and unusual, the UK’s hot chocolate scene has something to offer.

From the luxurious high-street offerings of Hotel Chocolat and Knoops to the unique tastes of Ruby Hue cocoa and volcanic chocolate, these top-rated hot chocolates are not just drinks; they’re an experience. Available both online and in-store, these indulgent treats are just a click or a step away from warming your hands and heart.

Fun Facts About Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is not just a beloved drink for its comforting warmth and rich flavour; it’s also steeped in history and fascinating facts that make it even more enjoyable.

Here are some intriguing tidbits and health benefits about this cherished beverage that might surprise you.

1. Hot Chocolate Was Once a Currency

In ancient Mesoamerican cultures, cocoa beans were so valued that they were used as currency. The Aztecs believed cocoa beans were gifts from the gods and were of such worth that they could be traded for goods and services. Imagine buying your next meal with a handful of cocoa beans!

2. It Was Initially Consumed as a Spicy Drink

The original hot chocolate was a far cry from the sweet, creamy drink we enjoy today. It was a bitter, frothy beverage mixed with spices and chili and consumed cold. The addition of sugar and milk came much later when the Spaniards introduced the drink to Europe.

3. Hot Chocolate Can Be Heart-Healthy

Studies have shown that dark chocolate can improve heart health, thanks to its high content of flavonoids, which are known to help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate made with high-quality dark chocolate can contribute to a healthy heart.

4. Hot Chocolate Was Prescribed for Medicinal Purposes

In the 16th and 17th centuries, hot chocolate was not just a luxurious treat but was also prescribed by doctors for a variety of ailments, including stomach diseases and liver disorders. It was believed to have nourishing and restorative properties.

6. There’s a Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate

While often used interchangeably, hot cocoa and hot chocolate are technically different. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate pressed free of all its richness, meaning the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is made directly from bar chocolate, which already contains cocoa, sugar, and cocoa butter, making it a richer, more decadent drink.

7. National Hot Chocolate Day Celebrates Worldwide

Though we’re focusing on the UK, National Hot Chocolate Day is celebrated by chocolate lovers around the globe. Each country brings its own unique twist to the drink, such as adding cheese in Colombia!

7. Hot Chocolate Has Been to Space

Astronauts on the International Space Station have enjoyed hot chocolate as a way to remind them of home, proving that the love for this drink is truly out of this world. NASA has developed special containers to allow astronauts to enjoy hot drinks, including hot chocolate while orbiting the Earth.

These fun facts about hot chocolate show that there’s much more to this delightful beverage than meets the eye. From its rich history as a currency and medicinal drink to its health benefits and cosmic journeys, hot chocolate continues to be a universal symbol of comfort, warmth, and joy.

The Final Sip: Reflections on national Hot Chocolate Day

As the curtain falls on our celebration of National Hot Chocolate Day, it’s clear that this beloved drink does more than just satiate our sweet cravings; it brings a sense of joy and warmth, particularly cherished during chilly winters. This day serves as a reminder of the simple pleasures in life, a mug of hot chocolate in hand, offering comfort and warmth from the inside out.

We encourage you to not just stick to the traditional ways of enjoying hot chocolate but to explore new avenues and innovations.

Whether it’s experimenting with a Velvetiser at home to craft that perfect, barista-grade cup or venturing out to participate in local events celebrating this delightful drink, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the rich, chocolatey goodness.

Spread the Warmth: Your Hot Chocolate Mission

Now, we turn the spotlight on you, our fellow hot chocolate enthusiasts.

Share your National Hot Chocolate Day experiences and creations on social media, and let’s spread the warmth and joy far and wide. Use the hashtag #NationalHotChocolateDayUK to connect with others celebrating this special day.

Did you whip up a decadent mug with your Velvetiser or discover a new favourite from a local independent cafe?

National Hot Chocolate Day is more than just a day for indulgence; it’s a day to celebrate warmth, community, and the simple joy of a well-made hot chocolate.

So, as we wrap up our festivities, let’s carry forward the spirit of this day throughout the winter and beyond, finding comfort and joy in every mug of hot chocolate we share. Cheers to many more chocolatey adventures ahead!

Hot Chocolate World author
Andrew Lowry

Hi, I’m Andrew and I like hot chocolate. Given the nature of this blog, that’s probably not surprising though.

I don’t drink coffee or tea (except a bit of green tea occasionally) so my hot drink options are limited.

I’m a champion of good-quality hot chocolate and want to see and learn more about it, so join me and let’s learn together.

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