Warmest Wishes - Hot Chocolates from Around the World

There’s no greater comfort during a cold winter night than a warm mug of hot chocolate. This delicious treat does more than soothe—it can transport you. A pack of Swiss Miss, complete with those tiny little marshmallows, can take you back to your childhood in just one sip.

While everyone enjoys a good trip down memory lane, as a leader in educational travel, we wanted to take your taste buds on a completely different journey: an adventure around the world in nine unique hot chocolates.

Each recipe, which we have carefully curated, offers its own take on this classic beverage and provides a little cultural insight to its country of origin.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

We’ll get things started where hot chocolate got its start. Historians believe that the Mayans began drinking their own chocolaty beverage as early as 500 B.C. The first iteration included ground-up cocoa seeds, water, cornmeal, and chili peppers. This more modern take ditches the cornmeal but keeps the pepper via a pinch of cayenne.

2 cups whole milk
5 ounces Mexican or bitter sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne
Whipped cream (optional)


  • In a small saucepan, whisk ingredients together over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes while stirring often.
  • Whisk vigorously before serving to create foamy top layer.
  • Pour into two mugs and serve immediately.

Source: Favorite Family Recipes

Colombian Hot Chocolate

Travelling south to Colombia, we get a recipe that includes an ingredient unlike anything you’ve had in your hot chocolate—cheese! Stay with us. We promise that it’s worth it and that you will find this sweet and salty combination both surprising and satisfying.

4 cups skim milk
6 squares of Colombian bitter hot chocolate bar, finely chopped
5 cloves
¼ cup of honey
½ tsp cinnamon
4 ounces of white cheese. Quesito Colombiano if you can find it. Otherwise, fresh mozzarella will work.


  • In a small saucepan, whisk all the ingredients minus the cheese together over high heat until it comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2-3 minutes while stirring often.
  • Cut cheese into quarter inch cubes.
  • Divide cheese evenly into four mugs, fill with hot chocolate, and stir until cheese is melted.

Source: Kiku Corner

Brazilian Hot Cocoa

Just a little further south in Brazil, we trade the quesito for a Brazilian favourite ingredients for all things sweet: sweetened condensed milk. The condensed milk takes this luscious drink to a whole new level. If you’re know for your sweet tooth, you will love this recipe.

4 cups whole milk
5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)


  • In a small saucepan, whisk all ingredients except for whipped cream together over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
  • Simmer until the cocoa reaches your ideal thickness. Be sure to stir often and don’t let it boil.
  • If too thick, add a little milk to reach desired consistency.
  • Pour into mugs and serve immediately. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

Source: Olivia’s Cuisine

Chinese Rock Salt Tea

Crossing the Pacific to China, we keep the condensed milk and add the cheese back, albeit cream cheese. We also get another ingredient that is “steeped” in Chinese history—black tea. There is a version of this recipe that uses hot cocoa instead of cold black tea; however, to keep it authentic, we’re going to make the tea version.

14 ounces of water
1 Tbsp assam tea
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp whipped cream cheese
A pinch of sea salt


  • Boil water and steep tea for four minutes.
  • Add sugar to tea and cool in freezer.
  • Whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Add condensed milk, cream cheese, and a pinch of salt, and whip until smooth.
  • Scoop creamy cheese mixture into cool tea, at least covering the top.

Source: Milk on the Moon

Filipino Hot Chocolate

We head south again to the Philippines, where cacao has been an essential crop since the first trees were brought to the country in the late 1500s by the Spanish. Tsokolate (pronounced Cho-Ko-Lat-Eh) has become a favourite drink during the holiday season. One thing that makes this drink particularly unique is the tablets of pure roasted cacao beans that are used. You may need to visit your local Asian or Latin market to find the tablets.

2 cups water
4 cacao tablets


  • In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  • Add tablets and stir to combine.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and continue stirring until tablets are fully dissolved.
  • Use immersion blender to froth drink.
  • Pour into mugs and serve immediately.

Source: Kawaling Pinoy

Indian Chai Spiced White Hot Chocolate

Heading west to “The Land of Spices,” it is only right that this Indian take on hot chocolate teases your taste buds with a wide variety of spices. This decadent mix of sweet chocolate and chai flavours doubles as a dessert and is sure to become one of your favourite recipes.

1 cup water
½ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cardamom or 4 pods, crushed
½ tsp cinnamon
2 whole star anise
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ cups of milk
¾ cup of white chocolate chips


  • In a small saucepan, whisk water, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise together over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and then add brown sugar and milk, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to low and add white chocolate. Bring to preferred temperature but don’t let it boil.
  • Remove star anise, pour into mugs, and serve immediately.

Source: The Schmidty Wife

Ghanaian Hot Chocolate

We continue west to Ghana, which happens to be the second largest producer of cacao. Ghanaians love their chocolate so much that they celebrate National Chocolate Day every February 14. Without a doubt, part of that celebration includes this “adult” version of hot chocolate.

4 ounces dark chocolate
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 shots of spiced rum
Whipped cream (optional)


  • In a small saucepan, whisk chocolate, milk, honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon over medium heat until the chocolate completely melts.
  • Add vanilla and rum, and then heat to desired temperature, stirring often.
  • Pour into mugs and add a heaping dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Source: The Hungary Buddha Eats the World

Hungarian Hot Chocolate

Heading north to Hungary, we get another spice-filled mug of hot chocolate. If you know anything about Hungarian cuisine, you know that paprika is a key ingredient. It’s in everything from paprikash to goulash to…hot chocolate! It creates a taste that is uniquely delicious and satisfying.

4 cups whole milk
1 tsp Hungarian hot paprika
½ tsp finely ground white pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


  • In a small saucepan, whisk milk, paprika, white pepper, and cloves over medium-low heat until almost boiling.
  • Add chocolate and stir until chocolate is fully melted.
  • Whisk to froth, and then pour into mugs and serve immediately.

Source: Vanilla Garlic

French Hot Chocolate

We end our journey in France with a recipe that is sure to be a favourite of dark chocolate lovers. This recipe is rich and robust, and it will have you running to the nearest bistro to grab a croissant to enjoy it with.

1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup of heavy cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Whipped cream


  • In a small saucepan, whisk milk, cream, and powdered sugar over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate.
  • Return to the heat and stir until chocolate is fully melted.
  • Pour into mugs and serve with whipped cream.

Source: Well Plated by Erin

We hope that you enjoyed this chocolatey trip around the world, and we look forward to having you travel with us in person in the future.