National hot cocoa day occurs on December 13th every year. Most Decembers can be super cold and a good cup of hot chocolate would be very welcoming. Our family has a tradition of a cup of hot cocoa, sweet rolls and peppermint sticks every Christmas morn. I believe that we should start celebrating national hot chocolate day as well. It definitely would not bother me as I love the comfort that hot chocolate gives.
Hot cocoa is a warm beverage made with cocoa powder, heated milk, or water and sugar. Where I am from we often call a hot cup of cocoa hot chocolate. Characteristically hot chocolate is made with shaved or melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder.
The date of the first chocolate beverage is not for sure but believed to be around 2000 years ago. The Mayas and Aztecs are believed to have had a cocoa beverage which was part of their culture. The Europeans explorers would come to the Americas and take their finds back. They would help popularize the cocoa drink. Mexico would introduce the drink to the new world. The changes that the cocoa drink would go under would be numerous. In the early days hot chocolate was used as medicine to treat stomach and other ailments.
In the United States it is easy to find instant cocoa. You simply add hot water or milk and mix in the instant cocoa packet. In the packet a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar and dry milk can be found. It is normal to top the drink with marshmallows or whipped cream.
The medicinal powers of hot cocoa are still present. Cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. Cocoa beans are also known to help with digestion. In addition there is some proof of hot cocoa being helpful for the heart.