How About Some Hot Chocolate?!

Writer Jeannine Luke

The history of chocolate, as far as we know right now, begins with ancient cultures in South America using parts of the cacao pod to make beverages.   Chocolate beverages were the only way the plant was used for consumption for thousands of years.

It has been long thought that the first to do so were the Mayans.  Recent archeological discoveries now credit an ancient culture in Honduras as the first, as cacao plant residue has been found on their pottery in laboratory tests.  They used the fruit of the pod, though, not the chocolate-y beans, with alcohol, so I’m not sure that counts.  The Mayans took cocoa trees from the rainforest and planted them in their own backyards & gardens.  They used cocoa beans and water to make a bitter drink that also had chile peppers & cornmeal.  I recently visited Chocolate: The Exhibition at a museum and was surprised to see how large the Mayan chocolate drink container was.  It was more the size of a small planter than the mugs we use.  I would estimate it held about a quart of liquid.

Moving on, the Aztecs got chocolate from the Mayans, and because they had to carry it from the Mayan civilization area to their own, it became valuable.  So valuable they used it for currency in addition to spicy bitter beverages.  In addition to chile peppers and cornmeal, the Aztecs added vanilla beans and black pepper to their chocolate drinks.

Legend has it that Aztec King Montezuma drank 50 cups of chocolate drink every day, and that he served a chocolate drink in a golden goblet to Spanish explorer/invader Cortez (thinking he was a God). The Spanish started shipping cocoa beans to Spain.   Soon Europeans added sugar, cinnamon, and other spices to the drinks.  Warm chocolate drinks became popular among the elite in Europe.    European chocolate was expensive in the beginning, as was sugar, and only the wealthy drank chocolate drinks in the morning.  They designed fancy cups for this, often having lids.  Unlike the Mayans’, these cups were smaller than the mugs we use, more like a petite, covered tea cup & saucer.   In England and Spain, you just had to be rich to drink chocolate drinks.  In France, you had to be royalty.  The common folk of Europe drank the more affordable coffee, which arrived about 100 years after chocolate.

The Spanish appreciated chocolate drinks as an energy drink.  Cortez said “The divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”   In the 16th century, Catholic clergy permitted liquid chocolate drinks when fasting, when solid foods are not allowed.

In the 1700s, an English doctor named Hans Sloane discovered a chocolate & water beverage while visiting Jamaica, and is reported to have found it nauseating.  He is credited with being the first to add milk to drinking chocolate, and brought his special recipe back to England with him.  Hans Sloane first sold his “drinking chocolate” in apothecaries, and then Cadbury’s sold it in a tin.

Before becoming chocolate as we know it, cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground.   The Industrial Revolution in the 1700s created equipment that processed cocoa in new and inexpensive ways, the advertising industry bloomed, and chocolate found its way to the masses.  (This is the nutshell version for now.)

21st Century Hot Chocolate…Bottoms Up!

Unfortunately, many now know hot chocolate by powdered mixes, which often also contain powdered milk.   In my opinion this is not hot chocolate’s greatest evolution.  Here’s some easy and good ways to make a hot chocolate that will nourish your body and your soul.

Easiest:  Heat high quality chocolate milk.  The best chocolate milk in the carton is made with whole milk, preferably organic.

Easy:  Melt a high quality chocolate bar in a bowl over hot water (or double boiler),.  Gradually stir in milk.  Taste.  Add raw sugar if any additional sweetness is desired.   Heat to desired temperature.


Jeannine Luke is an artist, writer,  & entrepreneur.  She paints cupcakes & angels, creates the blog Chocolate & The Meaning of Life, and the angel chocolate bar.  She is also known for her laughter.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for a Glorious Birth

When your baby’s ready to be born, your baby will release the hormones that trigger the entire birth-delivery system – so you don’t have to worry about the timing.

Read More

Spirit Line: A Navajo Weaving Path to Creative Renewal

The spirit line custom is a significant reminder that upon completion “closure” is not the same thing as “enclosure.” When we consciously create a path outward to the world, we escape the entrapment of a closed mind and a closed heart.

Read More

A Legendary Life Is A Choice

A Legendary Life is a way of being…a choice…a decision…

Legendary women are women
who have chosen to be themselves.
We have chosen to explore, honor and celebrate
our wild and unique natures!
We know that it doesn’t do anybody no good to hide our light.
We dig deep into our souls,
mining the sparkling wisdom held there.
Then we share with other women how it works.
Together we make transformation possible.
We don’t believe what others (or even ourselves)
have said about us not being good enough.
We know we are Good. Smart. Fabulous.
And we claim that for ourselves right now!
We are the Shero in our own story,
always believing that we can do what we set our mind to do.
We are guided by our hearts, our hopes and the desire to
live our life, as a legend in our own time.
choosing a Legendary Life.

by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

What is it that transforms our life from ordinary to legendary?

Is it achieving your goals?
Being “all you can be”?
Reaching success?

No…not in the Legendary Chronicles of Chief Laughing Cloud anyway…

Leading a Legendary Life is a decision you make about a way you are going to BE. How you are going to BE about whatever it is that is going on. How you will move through the world, your approach to living.  Choosing what is honoring and vital, and releasing what is limiting and ordinary. And by ordinary, I do not mean simple or common. I mean what is ordinary for you: that which does not cause you to grow, change, and be challenged or transformed.

Being legendary is not a destination or a goal to be reached. It is not about being famous or respected. It is not about what others think about who you are.  But about what YOU think about WHO YOU ARE.

Being legendary is a headset. A heart set. A set of creative disciplines. It is a journey towards being a self that for you: is JOY! is THRILLING! Being Legendary is being is a self you WANT to wake up to!

And being legendary starts with a decision to design one’s self and one’s life.

Choosing to live a legendary life means giving yourself permission to be amazing. And you define what ‘amazing’ is for yourselves. It is not the “what” of living, but the “how.”  Choosing to be legendary is more than an attitude and more than a way of being. When you choose to be legendary you have decided that you are defining the context in which your life will be lived and experienced.

Do you want vitality?  Self expression?  Do you want to feel your life is on purpose?  Do you want to live as an artist, with creativity as a central theme? Then consider what it would look like for you to transform your life into a legend!?

There is a sparkling destiny waiting for you to say YES!

Shiloh Sophia

Everyone has a story to tell.
A painting to paint.
A poem to write.
An adventure to take.
A dream to unfold.
Everyone is leading a legendary life.

Opening The Door To Your Abundance

Abundance is all around us. It’s the hot water flowing over our bodies after a day planting the garden. It’s the laughter we share with friends. It’s finding the perfect pair of jeans that make our butt look fabulous. It’s in the air and earth and water. Acknowledging the good that is already in our lives is the foundation of abundance. If the only prayer we say is “Thank You” that can be enough.

Read More