Researchers at Cambridge University are trying to link the consumption of chocolate with the prevention of heart disease. Although the link isn’t definitive, why risk it? Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and if something as common (and delicious) as chocolate might help prevent it, you may as well give it a try. 

Even if it doesn’t actually have the added health benefits, drinking hot chocolate is a great way to warm up after a cold day of exploring exotic places or hiking through icy lands. But don’t stick to that old hot chocolate mix sitting in your cupboard. Treat yourself to one of these recipes from around the world. 

Photo courtesy of The Pink Peppercorn

Italy: Cioccolato Caldo

This hot chocolate recipe may not be what you’re used to. Italians like their chocolate thick—so thick that this “drink” has to be helped out with a spoon. Of course, if you don’t want it as thick, you can modify it, but be adventurous and explore the risky route.


5 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao solids)

2 cups milk


1. Over low heat, combine cocoa powder, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of milk into a small saucepan.

2. Heat the mixture until the sugar melts and there are no lumps. Bring to a low boil while stirring constantly.

3. Add the remaining milk. Turn off the heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and serve.

Yield: 2 servings


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Worthen

Mexico: Mayan Hot Chocolate

The Ancient Mayans did not consume chocolate in the form of a candy bar as we do today. Most of the time they consumed it only as a rather healthy drink. Mayans would even include things like ground corn in their warm liquid cocoa. Although this recipe avoids the corn, get a kick from your hot chocolate and try this Mayan recipe. 


1 cup chocolate milk 

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch cayenne


Mix the ingredients together and heat.

Yield: 2 servings


Photo courtesy of Nathanmac87

India: Chai-Spiced Hot Chocolate

With all the spices in the mix, this unique hot chocolate has the taste of India. Rather than traditional brown cocoa, this recipe requires white chocolate—a perfect complement to the rich spices. If you’ve ever wanted to explore Indian cuisine but have never had the chance, this spiced hot chocolate can be your gateway to the delicious flavors of India.


2 tablespoons high quality white chocolate chips or grated white chocolate

1 cup milk or soy milk

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 whole clove

1 whole black peppercorn


1. Take two mugs and place one tablespoon of white chocolate into each. Set aside.

2. Place milk and water into a small saucepan. Whisk in the spices. Place over medium heat and allow to slowly come to a boil. Whisk occasionally.

3. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and remove the clove and peppercorn.

4. Whisk vigorously to distribute the spices and create foam on top. Remove from heat.

5. Pour half of the milk mixture into each of the mugs. Stir to melt the white chocolate. Spoon some of the foam onto the top of each and serve.

Yield: 2 servings


Photo courtesy of Christopher Cornelius

United States: Whipped Hot Chocolate

This winter, enjoy a delicious twist to the powdered hot chocolate you’ve been drinking your whole life. Sweeter and creamier, this recipe will guide you to the ultimate in comfort cocoa. The incredible richness of this drink will satisfy the chocoholic in you and leave you wanting more—no marshmallows necessary.


1 cup milk

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons sweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate,
broken into pieces

1 cup heavy cream 


1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over low heat until the milk begins to steam. 

2. Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt until dissolved. 

3. Stir in the chocolate until melted. 

4. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool slightly.

5. Beat the heavy cream in large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. 

6. Gently fold the whipped cream into the hot chocolate. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

—Alyson Reid