The Low Down on Hot Cocoa vs Hot Chocolate

National Hot Cocoa Day falls on December 13th each year and while we love us a piping hot cup of chocolatey goodness, we must address an important question: what is the difference between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate.

While many folks use hot cocoa and hot chocolate interchangeable, that most certainly is not the case. Although there is not a legal definition of either term – which means that either product can technically be labeled as the other – aficionados and experts will not let that fly.

Hot Cocoa is made from a powder that is created by applying high heat to cacao beans, then mixing with sugar and other additives and blending with milk or water. If chocolate is in a liquid form such as a syrup is used, it is also Hot Cocoa.

On the other hand, Hot Chocolate is made with actual real milk or dark chocolate that has been shaved, ground or chopped up then melted and combined with milk or water. Hot Cocoa has a thinner consistency and tends to be creamier and sweeter because of the additives.

True Hot Chocolate, on the other hand, is much richer and denser; it can also have bittersweet notes depending on the type and percentage of pure cacao used as the base.  So basically, if you are using pre-packaged mixing powder or syrup, you must call it by it’s proper name Hot Cocoa.

So the next time you have a craving for a hot sweet cacao-based beverage, make sure you call out your desired drink by name.  Either one is delicious and magically satisfying on a blistering winter day, especially if spiked with your favorite spirit, it just depends your mood and deserved level of decadence. Regardless, you can now go out this winter armed with a bit more information, after all, the more you know and knowing is half the battle in the drinks world!



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