Around the world in a mug: Hot chocolate making of the globe

2 Oct 2023

Chocolate Knowledge Food + Drink Hot Chocolate

Let’s take a journey around the globe and explore the hot chocolate flavours that the world has to offer.

Hot chocolate has an intricate and multi-layered profile with a variety of aromas and flavour notes — all of which have become flavours that we know and love well. However, these flavours also reflect a myriad of global tales, ready and waiting for us to experience in the comfort of our own homes.

From every nook and cranny of the world, cacao beans tell a story, hinting at the rich history of nurtured soils and the hands that harvested them. While British hot chocolate has its well known and loved charm, why should we limit ourselves? There are so many more hot chocolate flavours out there to experience, and that’s why we’re discussing the global flavours of hot chocolate today.

While we all love a syrupy sweet, cream-and-marshmallow topped hot cacao, Hotel Chocolat’s diverse hot chocolate range can offer your tastebuds a ticket to new hot chocolate variations from across the globe. So, strap yourself in, as we glide around the world on a sweet and delicious journey.

Hot chocolate making methods from around the world

The passion, luxury, and wellness benefits of hot chocolate aren’t just in its taste, but in its methodical preparation. From the rugged highlands of South America to quaint European cafes and enlightening African villages, methods to craft this beverage have evolved over time, enriched by geographic traditions and innovations alike.

The Mayans, for instance, consumed hot chocolate as a bitter and cold beverage, and whipped it until frothy. On the other side of the mug, some cultures today cherish hot chocolate as a velvety smooth, saccharine sweet, and piping hot drink.

It’s important to remember that there’s no singular “right” method of making in the world of hot chocolate preparation; instead, every version is a wonderful testament to the evolution of taste. While society’s palette and methods have evolved over time, it’s important to remember that hot cacao is a drink as dynamic as its history. And we believe that it should be experienced as such.

Photos of chocolate around the world

Spanish hot chocolate delights

The streets of Spain come alive every morning with the rich aroma of their distinctive hot chocolate. Spanish hot chocolate, with its thicker, velvety, and almost pudding-like consistency, is meant to be savoured slowly. It’s a nod to the country’s storied history with cacao, dating back to the 16th century.

In fact, explorers returned from their New World expedition and graced Spain as the very first European nation with the magic of cacao. In the enclosed quarters of Spanish monasteries, monks transformed cacao beans into a thickened consistency, usually paired with ground almonds and lightly spiced with vanilla. It goes without saying that it was nothing short of a flavour revolution. Often paired with the fried crispiness of freshly-baked churros as a breakfast treat, it’s a union of textures and warmth.

Our 70% Classic Hot Chocolate offers a rich base that can be whisked into this Spanish delight. Fancy trying a sip of your own? Add a few of our high-cacao truffles into your hot chocolate mixture, alongside a splash of vanilla and ground almonds to enhance its rich density. The result? A taste reminiscent of Spanish town squares at the break of dawn.

Africa’s bold hot chocolate beverage

Africa, a significant cacao bean producer, serves hot chocolate tales spun with rich traditions. Characterised by robust, bold cacao flavours, Africa’s hot cacao flavours are an unapologetic celebration of its roots and the continent’s vast number of cacao farms.

The humble cacao bean found a secure heartland in the soils of Africa after Spanish explorers sailed into African ports. Some African regions also blend in native spices, presenting a cup that’s both warming and invigorating – perfect when paired with a slice of African fruit cake.

At Hotel Chocolat, we source cacao from all over the world, but most of it comes from Ghana. In Ghana, we work with over 2,500 local farming partners. The farming partners who decide to work with us sign up to a charter, dedicated to promoting sustainable and ethical farming practices, along with community development schemes.

This all ties into our Engaged Ethics approach to cacao farming — ensuring that we are ethical and sustainable in our cacao farming efforts. From bean to bar, we want to provide you with chocolate that is 100% ethical, and we also want to give back to the hands that work so hard to provide us with this delicious cacao.

To taste the passion that goes into cacao farming, make a beverage out of our Single Origin Chocolate. Made in our small-batch roastery, these chocolates are made from the best 10% of the world’s cacao harvest — and it’s something we’re extremely passionate about.

Indian spiced cacao elixirs

India is the land of tantalising spices, so it’s only natural for the country to add a signature twist to hot chocolate. Upon the taste buds, you will feel a dance of cardamom and clove, enveloped with velvety hot cacao. Next, the warmth of cinnamon and ginger, lingering on the palate. Finally, a touch of saffron can infuse this delicious blend with an added element of luxury.

Interestingly, India has always been historically renowned for its tea and coffee plantations, enhanced by bold, lingering flavours. Since the country’s introduction to cacao and hot cacao, there has been a growing interest in cacao cultivation in states such as Keala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. As you can see, chocolate’s place is being cemented into the vast Indian culinary scene as we speak. And the flavour experimentation doesn’t just stop there.

It’s rather obvious to us that an Indian hot chocolate is not just a beverage; it’s a worldly experience. If you want to create an Indian hot chocolate for yourself, our 80% Dark Hot Chocolate serves as a fantastic canvas for this creation, perfect for balancing your choice of spices for an authentic Indian touch.

Hot chocolate aromatics of South America

South America, cacao’s birthplace, holds the secrets to a hot chocolate that is rich, aromatic, and sometimes spicy with a hint of chilli, or soothing with a dash of vanilla. Countries such as Brazil and Venezuela offer versions with native spices or fruits, transforming it from a mere drink to a joyous flavour celebration.

For a hint of spice, try out Chilli Dark Hot Chocolate Sachets, sprinkled with mouth-warming Habanero amongst 70% dark chocolate. If you have a sweeter tooth, our Vanilla White Hot Chocolate Sachets could be combined with our 100% Dark Chocolate Batons for a rich, smoky, and unique taste.

To truly grasp this vibrant, traditional taste of cacao, explore our Roots to Wrapper method of chocolate making and indulge in chocolate grown from our own Saint Lucian estate, Rabot 1745 — 140-acres of cacao goodness, situated in the South West of Saint Lucia.

So, why Saint Lucia? Well, we source cacao beans from around the globe, but Saint Lucia has rich and fertile volcanic soil at a high altitude. Mixed with rainforest water, this creates the perfect terroir for growing our own finest, rarest strains of cacao.

two women pouring hot chocolate from pan to mug

Japanese hot cacao

Asia’s relationship with hot chocolate is relatively newer to the cacao scene, but no less intriguing. Instead, Japanese hot chocolate is layered with unique twists. In Japan, hot chocolate occasionally entwines with the earthiness of matcha, resulting in a umami-like concoction —- a taste experience like no other.

Japan blends the rich traditions of the Land of the Rising Sun, where each sip draws inspiration from Japan’s ceremonial matcha rituals, and the velvety textures of mochi. What forms is an unmatched creaminess for the perfect east-meets-west chocolate beverage.

For the ultimate Japanese hot cacao experience, why not visit our new Japanese Hotel Chocolat store in Tokyo’s Aeon Lake Town? Shop at the store, and then treat yourself to an after-shopping snack at the in-store cafe, serving all manner of chocolate drinks and snacks.

Chinese hot cacao

In China, you may find that traditional herbs find their way into your mug of cacao, offering subtle yet intriguing notes. It’s subtle and delicate, and it’s a testament to how versatile cacao is as an ingredient with its mellowing base flavour.

Chinese hot cacao is an enchanting fusion that intertwines ancient Chinese tea traditions with our traditional cacao craftsmanship. It’s a blend of ancient traditions with the new —- and it’s truly mesmerising.

Our 50% Milk Hot Chocolate offers a light and mellow base, which pairs harmoniously with the strong Chinese flavours of five-spice, ginger, star anise, and tea. Educate, experiment, and enhance your hot chocolate to your liking — after all, there’s no right or wrong way to make a mug of cacao with Hotel Chocolat.

Send your taste buds on a global expedition

No matter if you choose to savour the boldness of African hot chocolate, or the warmth of Indian hot chocolate, we urge you to embark on your own cacao-filled adventure.

Every region and every culture celebrates the cacao bean differently, and our hot chocolate range ensures that you get to be part of this global fiesta — all from the comfort of your home.

The universe of hot chocolate is an endless adventure, with a myriad of flavours, stories, and memories in every cup. But why stop there? Explore, play, and create with Hotel Chocolat’s diverse hot chocolate range, and let your tastebuds wonder without restriction.

After all, in the realm of cacao, there’s always a new flavour waiting just around the corner — you just need to find it first.