George Washington’s favorite drink. Photo
courtesy Mars Inc.
You may have imagined our Colonial forefathers drinking wine, buttered rum, beer or a cup of tea. But hot chocolate?
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin enjoyed chocolate on a regular basis, according to Mars, the Historic Division of which produces American Heritage Hot Chocolate. The company says that chocolate was Washington’s favorite drink, served during mealtimes.
For most of the history of chocolate, it was drunk as a beverage. Solid chocolate wasn’t invented until 1847.
According to Mars, makers of the American Heritage brand of chocolate products, chocolate figures prominently in Early American history. With a rebellion against tea and everything British, our forefathers chose hot chocolate and coffee as symbols of freedom.
Washington: While residing in Mt. Vernon, George and Martha Washington were well-documented lovers of chocolate. They served chocolate in their white and gold imported porcelain service, in special cups and saucers that were known as chocolate cups (a smaller size than the standard coffee and tea cup). In a letter to his agent, Washington wrote, “She will…thank you to get 20lbs of the shells of Cocoa nuts [cacao beans], if they can be had of the Chocolate makers.”
Jefferson: In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote that chocolate would prevail over coffee and tea in terms of American preferences, as it already had in Spain. His vision didn’t take; and over time, the wealthy Spanish reverted to coffee service. (Chocolate was expensive, and not a drink of the common man.)
Franklin: In 1794, Benjamin Franklin wrote that chocolate should be a part of any provision when going into sea. During the French and Indian War, he also managed to secure six pounds of chocolate for every officer.
Compare these recipes:
HISTORIC CHOCOLATE RECIPE
Take a Quart of Milk, Chocolate without Sugar four ounces, fine Sugar as much fine Flour, or Starch, half a quarter of an Ounce, a little Salt: mix them, dissolve them, and boil them as before.
If this seems confusing, watch a video demonstration.
MODERN HOT CHOCOLATE
Ingredients per serving: 4 ounces whole milk, 1 ounce finely grated chocolate (or drinking chocolate). Combine both ingredients in a straight-sided one quart sauce pan and bring them to a boil. When the chocolate is melted and well combined, take the pan off the heat. Using a handheld immersion blender, agitate the hot liquid to achieve a foamy top. As an alternative, froth the liquid in a countertop blender. Press a dry towel down over the cover of a standing blender during mixing to prevent burns from escaping hot liquid. Serve immediately.
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