by Christina Morgan Cree
“The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the preference over tea and coffee in America…” Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1785. It didn’t exactly happen as he predicted, but I, for one, completely agree.
Chocolate and I have a love affair that goes back as far as I can remember. From my first cake, to the time when I was five and my mom had to restrict my Hershey bar intake to one a day because I just couldn’t handle myself. All the way through to adulthood I didn’t go a day without chocolate. I couldn’t! Now even John Tesh is “Face booking” deep knowledge about scientifically supported health benefits of eating chocolate every day.
Here is a link that shows some of chocolate’s health benefits: www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/dark_chocolate.html
A Brief History:
The first chocolate drink can be traced to about 1500BC. The Mesoamericans were the first ones we know of to harvest the cacao bean, grind it into a paste and add water. They called the drink “xocolatl” and believed it had mystical properties. They passed it to the Mayans, who then passed it to the Aztecs, whose leader, Montezuma II, supposedly drank goblets full all day long. When Cortes conquered the Aztecs, he brought the drink to Spain. From there it spread throughout Europe, the world, and to Santa Cruz.
For lovers of hot chocolate, Santa Cruz has some fantastic variations. A few notables:
Starbucks: My personal go to. They do an excellent soy hot chocolate with an extra shot of mocha.
Verve: Your classic hot chocolate. And it looks pretty.
Lulu carpenters: Hot Cacao! A mug of hot chocolate that is rich but not too sweet, with a little whipped cream.
You haven’t really experienced hot chocolate until you visit Chocolate in downtown Santa Cruz. They offer 10 different options! Here are some highlights from their diverse and extensive hot chocolate menu: chocolatesantacruz.com/hot-chocolates
Frida: A traditional Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and other spices, flavorful but not too spicy. If you do like your hot chocolate spicy, try the Fuego-with chipotle chili.
Lena: hot chocolate with a sweet and creamy milk chocolate flavor.
Bianca: made with white chocolate flavor perfectly balanced, not too sweet and very creamy.
Sophia: so rich it’s like drinking pudding, so I’m told and is a dark chocolate.
Coca: my personal favorite! Made with coconut milk, it’s rich, and dark and delicious.
Check out more of Christina’s Santa Cruz area articles in our travel section.