Why Are People Putting Cheese in Their Hot Chocolate?

Don't knock it 'til you try it!

You may have seen videos all over social media this past weekend about putting cheese in hot chocolate, with many, many mixed reactions. Colombian TikTok creator @misslegarda posted about putting cheese in her hot chocolate and American TikTok came for her, calling the practice out as, "disgusting," and even going as far as to respond with gagging noises in reaction to the idea.

Why Do People Put Cheese in Hot Chocolate?

But the idea of putting cheese in hot chocolate isn't a new one. This is actually a very common way to enjoy the beverage in Colombia, where hot chocolate is often had with breakfast or as an evening snack alongside an arepa. And yes, it's commonly served with cheese in the hot chocolate itself.

My Colombian grandmother (known as abuelita or "Abi" for short) made the treat, called "Chocolate Santafereño," in Colombia for my mom and aunt when they were kids. I called my aunt to talk to her about all this commotion on TikTok and she said, "That's how all my friends would react too when Abi made it for us after we moved to the States."

How To Make Colombian Hot Chocolate with Cheese

The hot chocolate itself is usually made from dark or bittersweet chocolate, and has some spices like cinnamon and cloves mixed in. The chocolate and spices are added to milk in a chocolatera (a small metal pitcher) over the stove and stirred using a molinillo (a wooden whisk) to get the milk nice and frothy. You pour the steaming-hot hot chocolate into a mug and add some cubes of white melting cheese; Usually it's mozzarella, but Oaxacan cheese (or Swiss, like my abuelita used) works too. After just a minute, the cheese gets gooey and stringy, and you can use a spoon to dig out little bites of salty cheese that pair perfectly with the bittersweet hot chocolate.

While it may be different from any hot cocoa most Americans have ever had, it's actually a well-loved tradition among Colombians. So, before you jump to calling it disgusting, give it a try and then decide. You may just be surprised!

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