Hot chocolate is the most beloved part of winter, survey says

NEW YORK — While some Americans can’t wait for the cold weather to leave and spring to arrive, there are plenty of people who say “let it snow!” For those who welcome winter, a new survey finds there’s nothing better than enjoying a marshmallow-filled cup of hot chocolate. Sipping on some cocoa beat out seeing the first snowfall and warming up by the fire to be named the best part of the season.

The poll of 2,000 Americans also reveals building a snowman and celebrating the holidays are among respondents’ favorite parts of winter. Baking winter treats, skiing or snowboarding, and going ice skating made the list as well.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of chocolate-filled marshmallow brand Stuffed Puffs for National Hot Chocolate Day, the survey looked at what makes Americans fall in love with the coldest season of the year.

Actually making the hot chocolate on a cold day and seeing extended family for the holidays rounded out the top 10 aspects respondents look forward to most during winter.

What makes a perfect winter day?

Americans agree that the best outdoor temperature during winter is a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Six in 10 agreed that winter feels more magical than other times of the year, but 68 percent believe winter was more fun when they were children.

This might be one of the reasons why 62 percent of parents surveyed (about 1,100 respondents) plan to live vicariously through their kids this winter. Two-thirds of parents (67%) said they’re excited to feel like a kid again during these chilly months. The top activity they’re hoping to do with their child is to enjoy hot chocolate with marshmallows (42%).

Making winter memories with cocoa

In honor of National Hot Chocolate Day on Jan. 31, the survey also delved into respondents’ hot chocolate preferences — and their memories surrounding the beverage. One respondent reminisced about their father flooding the backyard to make an ice skating rink for them, followed by going inside to drink cocoa.

Another respondent spoke about living on a Christmas tree farm and drinking hot chocolate with their sisters after helping other families with their trees. A third said they did not have any specific memories but, “any cup of good hot chocolate is a favorite memory.”

“There’s something nostalgic about sitting by the fire on a snowy day and drinking a cup of hot chocolate,” Carla O’ Brien, the SVP of Marketing at Stuffed Puffs says in a statement. “We weren’t surprised to see that having a marshmallow-filled cup of hot chocolate was the top favorite thing about winter — it’s one of my favorite aspects of the season, too.”

Of the 55 percent who enjoy drinking hot chocolate, a third (32%) said they drink it daily during winter. Milk is the preferred way of making hot chocolate, decisively beating water (72% vs 15%). Meanwhile, whipped cream (64%) and marshmallows (63%) come in as the most popular toppings.

Every way you drink hot chocolate is a good way

Sixty-two percent of hot chocolate drinkers said they prefer to keep their drink traditional, versus 31 percent who said they liked to experiment. Another 43 percent of hot chocolate drinkers said they believe the beverage is not limited to winter and instead can be enjoyed year-round.

“There is no perfect way to make hot chocolate and that is part of the fun,” O’Brien says. “Because the chocolate melts from inside the marshmallow, we just add two chocolate-filled marshmallows in a glass of warm milk, and my kids and I get to enjoy an instant cup of delicious hot chocolate. There are a variety of recipes to explore, like making hot chocolate cookies or these hot chocolate snowman pals.”

“Whatever you prefer — whether it’s made with milk or water, piled high with marshmallows or topped with whipped cream — we encourage everyone to make some hot chocolate on Jan. 31 and celebrate the holiday with us,” the Stuffed Puffs SVP concludes.

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