For centuries, hot chocolate was a thick, almost bitter drink enjoyed by elites regardless of the season, it has changed a lot throughout the centuries. However, what has stayed is its ability to be a staple part of nutrition when explorers go on expeditions, mainly to help with recovery after a long days work, an aid to sleep and a mood booster. As it's hot, it does truly warm you up on a cold day. Plus, the luxurious taste and feel of drinking hot chocolate that then warms your whole body is exquisite! It is thick, silky and rich tasting!
Chocolate also contains many minerals, vitamins and bio-chemical compounds. As it has a high quality chocolate contains cocoa butter, the vegetable fat found in cocoa beans, which is a natural energy source.
CAPTAIN ROBERT FALCON SCOTT
Captain Scott actually preferred tea normally however he still recognized the merits of cocoa for his team. During his 1911-12 trek to the South Pole, he had his men drink hot cocoa five nights a week. Each eveningwhen they stopped for supper, they would warm up a pot of what they called “hoosh” — a thick stew made with pemmican (dried beef and fat) and hard biscuits – and a pot of cocoa. They washed the formerdown with the latter. As noted, “the warmth of your hours of rest depends largely on getting into your bag immediately after you have eaten your hoosh and cocoa.”
According to records, Scott’s daily sledging ration (per man) was 450g of biscuit, 340g of pemmican, 85g of sugar, 57g of butter, 16g of tea and 24g of cocoa. In comparison, Roald Amundsen’s polar rations were 400g biscuits, 375g pemmican, 125g cocoa and 75g dried milk – five times as much cocoa.
Amundsen and his men preferred coffee at Framheim, but drank only hot chocolate while sledging. They carried flasks of hot chocolate for lunch on their depot journeys. Lunch was a rare treat while en route to the Pole. “We allowed ourselves a little lunch, an indulgence that had not been permitted soon the Primus [stove] was humming in a way that told us it would not be long before the chocolate was ready. It was a heavenly treat, that drink.”
Cocoa even makes a cameo in Olav Bjaarland’s diary describing his arrival at the South Pole, “So now, we have attained the goal of our desires, and the great thing is that we are here as the first men…We have now eaten and drunk our fill of what we can manage; seal steak and biscuits and pemmican and chocolate.” Amundsen too recalls that after making their navigational observations at the Pole, “We put the kettle on to give ourselves a drop of chocolate”.
From the accounts of Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914 in ‘The Home of the Blizzard’ that while on trips away from their hut hauling sledges over the ice, they drank tea for lunch andCadbury’s cocoa with dried milk and sugar at breakfast and dinner. The cocoa/dried milk/sugar mixture was prepared in the right proportions before setting off on the expedition.
Ernest Shackleton took a mix of tea and cocoa on his 2014 Imperial Transantarctic Expedition, “We shall take with us no stimulants except tea and cocoa. We drink the tea at midday to refresh us for the ‘afternoon’ march. The cocoa is taken last thing at night to preserve body heat during the hours of sleep.” He also took Bovril, a thick salty meat extract, which was the main warm drink that his team had to drink when they were marooned on Elephant Island.