We have all heard of tea pots and coffee pots, but how many people have heard of the chocolate pot? The chocolate pot is used to serve hot chocolate. The chocolate pot isn’t a modern day concept. In fact, chocolate pots were first seen during the times of the ancients Mayans, but not again until the mid-17th century. The earliest chocolate pots found in England date to this time. The chocolate pots were primarily silver. They were decorated around the top and base with a raised design and the family crest was often stamped into the side. To be able to differentiate between a silver tea pot and the chocolate pot, the chocolate pot had a wooden handle and was angled at 90 degrees from the pouring spout. One didn’t want to serve tea from the chocolate pot and vice versa.
During the 19th century, when chocolate became more readily available to the masses, chocolate pots changed in look, design and materials. The chocolate pots were still made of silver, but more frequently they were made from copper, china and porcelain. Floral decorations with roses became especially popular. European porcelain chocolate pots became larger and more detailed. In the 19th century, the shape of the chocolate pot changed in Germany and the new design followed in France. The French took the design on step further and made the chocolate pots slimmer and taller than the German version.
Although Japan did not consume much in the way of chocolate compared to other countries, the Japanese were responsible for making a lot of the porcelain chocolate pots for North America and Europe. The styles, shapes and patterns were all similar with a floral motif. The only difference was the flowers from Japan were more open and spread out. They resembled Asian paintings. The chocolate pots manufactured in Japan tended to be slender like those previously made in France, but they had a simpler handle. Often times the design was created for a more three dimensional effect with raised surfaces called moriage.
American made chocolate pots did not start showing up until after 1850. Metal chocolate pots were still found all over America and Europe, but the porcelain became more popular. North American chocolate pots were decorated more simply than those of Europe with the floral motifs covering only part of the pots and the colors being more muted.
More about 20th century chocolate pots next week and a recipe for homemade marshmallows.
European Hot Chocolate
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 6 ounces water, boiling
Flavorings (choose one)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
Spirits (choose one)
- 1 1/2 ounces single malt scotch
- 1 1/2 ounces eau de vie
- 1 1/2 ounces apple brandy
Garnishes (choose one)
- loose whipped cream
- crème fraîche flavored with vanilla
- cinnamon sticks
- In a small saucepan, pour the boiling water over the chocolate. Add any flavorings or spirits to the mixture now. The amounts listed are recommendations only…you can use as much, as little or any combination to suit your tastes.
- Using an immersion blender, mix until the chocolate have completely melted and a foamy froth has developed. You may also use a whisk, but the hot chocolate will not be as frothy.
- Pour into serving cups and garnish.
- You can double, triple or quadruple this recipe if you’re entertaining a large group. Simply make the hot chocolate base and keep it warm in a double boiler. For a super-fast, super-frothy individual serving, I suggest using the steam wand on an espresso maker.
Rather than making it with milk, European way to make a rich, creamy cup of hot chocolate by stirring in a dollop of loose whipped cream.