Recipes for historical chocolate beverages?

In period literature, people drink a hot drink called "chocolate:–not “hot chocolate”–almost, I always had the impression, as an alternative to tea or coffee. This makes me wonder if it was brewed on the stove from ground cacao beans. Does anyone know more about this early European use of chocolate, or even perhaps a recipe?


What makes you say that it’s not “hot chocolate”? The modern drink is an alternative to tea or coffee, too.

I said it was never *called *hot chocolate. The context in which I’ve read it makes me wonder if it wasn’t different from Swiss Miss.

The origins of chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Maya and Aztec civilisations in Central America, who first enjoyed ‘chocolatl’; a much-prized spicy drink made from roasted cocoa beans. Chocolate was exclusively for drinking until the early Victorian era, when a technique for making solid ‘eating’ chocolate was devised.

Here’s some recipes . If I had the resources, I’d whip up some Aztec-style chocolate.

Wish I could get a gander at this paper:

[Annie Gray, Katharine Boardman, Peter Drake and Lesley Johansen-Salter, University of York, UK
‘Sensing the Past: Recreating an Eighteenth Century Chocolate Beverage Recipe’

Archaeologists have many strategies for understanding the previous cultures, but often this excludes any attempt to experience sensations from the past. This paper explains the 18th-century context of chocolate consumption and, through an original 18th-century recipe, offers the audience a chance to experience the sensation of tasting a chocolate drink. Though we are brought up within our 21st-century culinary culture, we can appreciate the impact of the introduction of hot beverages through this simple form of experimental archaeology. The ‘otherness’ of 18th-century beverage consumption can be appreciated intellectually, but the direct sensation of a contemporary concoction emphasises this most effectively.](

You can also buy a pre-mixed version of the Aztec chocolate.

The Field Museum put together a wonderful travelling exhibit about the history of Chocolate.

This page has some recipes for chocolate from 1650. I’ve made a few and they are quite good.

And Chronos, most pre-1650 recipes that are meant to be served hot tend to include the instruction “and serve it forth all hote” or something like that. If no recipes had such instruction (or if it was even a very_rare instruction, for example: the addition of salt) I would agree with you. But the serve-it-hot instruction appears just often enough to make me believe that hot beverages were the comfort of Victorians, rather than renaissance-era people.