The humble hot chocolate is a firm favourite on a cold drizzly winter’s afternoon. It triggers nostalgic memories of childhood, the comforting sweetness of liquid chocolate mixed with soft marshmallows and a mountain of whipped cream is bound to make anyone’s mouth water. In recent years hot chocolate has been reinvented time and time again. From festive themed pumpkin spiced hot chocolates to extra indulgent, creamy caramel hot chocolate to a sense explosion chilli hot chocolate, it’s a drink that seems to go with just about anything and the guys over at the South Devon Chilli Farm have been putting chilli and chocolate together since they started their chilli journey back in 2001.
But hot chocolate wasn’t always the sweet, comforting drink we know and love today. Since the 14th Century, ancient Mesoamericans have used cacao plants found in the tropical rainforests of Central America. By fermenting, roasting and grinding the cacao beans, they created a paste which they then added to a mixture of water, vanilla, honey, chilli and other spices making a frothy, chocolate drink. They believed the chocolatey drink enhanced your mood and acted as an aphrodisiac which led to the belief the beans had spiritual qualities. The Mayan’s were so mad about cacao it was reserved for rulers, warriors, priests and sacred ceremonies. When the Aztecs began to dominate Mesoamerica in the 14th, they discovered that the dry highlands of central Mexico were too hot to grow their beloved, spiritual cacao and so it became a type of currency between the Aztecs and Mayans.
4000 years later chocolate may not be considered spiritual or medicinal but over at the South Devon Chilli Farm, chilli chocolatiers Lucy and Elsa have done a pretty good job of recreating the classic Mayan recipe. Their superbly sweet chilli hot chocolate warms you from your tummy to your toes, it’s fiery after burn is enough to ignite your senses and leave your lips tingling for a while. We sell this delicious blend of plain chocolate, sugar, vanilla and chilli’s from the farm in 2 x 1Kg bags, all you need to do is add two tablespoons to a some hot frothy milk and you’ve got yourself a drink no Aztec could ever resist.