Atole de chocolate / Photo by Alamy
While many of us know it in the form of bars, candies or baked goods, for most of its 5,000-year history, chocolate has been a drink.
“It’s the original form of consuming chocolate, and it carries the importance of culture with it,” says Arcelia Gallardo, the founder of Mission Chocolate.
Regional variations on drinkable chocolate abound, particularly in Latin America, where “there are as many recipes as there are towns or families making it,” says Karla McNeil-Rueda, cofounder of Cru Chocolate.
Since chocolate is beloved around the world, you’ll find local hot chocolate drinks almost everywhere, especially in destinations where cocoa beans grow.
The exception is Western Africa. While 70% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast, “there is nothing historically speaking that we know about,” says Priscilla Addison, the cofounder of ’57 Chocolate, a Ghanaian bean-to-bar brand. “People typically drink the big-name Nestle brands.”
The same could be said for the United States where, for many, hot chocolate means hot cocoa, made with Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
Thankfully, there’s a wide world of chocolate drinks available. Here are seven you should try immediately, if not sooner.