Chocolate mint is a mint hybrid that may have originated in the same places from which the Mentha genus is thought to have come. The possible locations of chocolate mint’s origin are Europe, Africa, or Asia. In other words, there isn’t a lot of precise information about chocolate mint’s beginnings. Some botanists believe it to be the offspring of orange mint (sometimes called bergamot mint) but that point is controversial. Other experts consider it a relative of watermint.
The Mentha genus was named by the Greek botanist Theophrastus who took his inspiration for it from Greek mythology. The mint herb was named for the water nymph (Menthe or Minthe) who the myth says was turned into a plant by Persephone because of an affair with Persephone’s husband, Hades.
Mint’s history goes all the way back to Ancient Egypt and was valued as a culinary herb by the Greeks, the Romans and the English. The theory is that Roman soldiers brought it to the British Isles and it eventually reached North America via colonists. Most likely it arrived with the Pilgrims.
Chocolate mint flavor profile
The flavor of chocolate mint is a controversial area. Some people detect definite notes of chocolate in it, while others just detect regular spearmint. For some, the chocolate aspect of the flavor is so pronounced that they liken it to Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies or Andes Mints candy. Others believe that while the taste may not have chocolate notes in it, the aroma does.
People who cannot detect the chocolate part of the flavor believe that the herb is just another form of spearmint with nothing in the taste to differentiate it; in other words, that the chocolate is imaginary. The argument for this is that there is no chemical component in the herb to explain the chocolate flavor. Even with all of the evidence to the contrary, some people do insist that some strains of the plant have a flavor that might be chocolate-like. Some people detect vanilla notes to go along with the chocolate.
Health benefits of chocolate mint
Like other types of mint, chocolate mint can have positive effects on health due to the valuable compounds it contains. Chocolate mint’s nutrients include:
- Vitamins: Chocolate mint is a good source of vitamins A and C. There is a small amount of vitamin B9 in it as well.
- Minerals: You can get both potassium and manganese from chocolate mint.
- Antioxidants: Mints like chocolate mint contain rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that fights inflammation.
With chocolate mint in your diet, you can treat or prevent health conditions like:
- Digestive issues: Mint has been used for centuries to treat problems with digestion including nausea, and heartburn. Chocolate mint contains many of the same compounds as other mint varieties.
- Allergies: The anti-inflammatory effects of compounds in chocolate mint may make it effective for relieving allergy symptoms.
You can use chocolate mint the same way that you would use any other mint. It is a great addition to desserts including ice creams and custards. It is a great option in chocolate ice cream especially.
You can pair chocolate mint with the chocolate flavor in many recipes including ones for chocolate puddings and chocolate cookies. Chocolate mint is great in beverages as well and can work in mojitos and other minty cocktails in addition to hot chocolate and mint tea.