Introducing, Cola Cao


For those of you in Spain, this needs no introduction.

For the rest of the world:  Meet Spain’s breakfast of Champions,  Cola Cao.

The ingredient list reads:

  • sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • wheat flour
  • malt extracts
  • added flavours
  • salt

In other words, it is cheap chocolate milk with flour for filler.  My father-in-law says, “It’s healthy!  It’s cereal!”

There are three generations of Spaniards convinced that this is the perfect breakfast food.  I have watched in utter horror as Rogelio’s aunt force-fed her grandson chocolate milk because “The damn kid refuses to eat anything healthy.”  She is off the hook for babysitting my kids.

Spain has the worst childhood obesity rates in Europe and although they haven’t yet reached American levels, they are working hard to catch up.  I have also seen mothers force feeding their children French pastries in the park.

Strange.  My common sense suggests that if your kid isn’t interested in chocolate milk and pastries, he probably isn’t hungry.  Call me crazy…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and am a choco-holic from way back.  I am in no way qualified to judge people’s eating habits.  But just like with alcoholics, there are levels.  It is one thing to indulge in a few too many scotches after dinner.  It is another thing to do it for breakfast and then expound the health benefits.  A good single malt is arguably more cereal-like than chocolate milk and after watching a force feeding incident, infinitely more appealing.

My neighbour invited me to a lecture about childhood nutrition.  I was assuming a discussion about vitamins, healthy recipes, meal planning etc.  Youth nutrition in Spain means “how to train your kids to eat when they don’t want to”.  The system suggested was to make them sit in front of the plate for ten minute intervals and then send them to their room for ten minute intervals until they “Drink the chocolate milk, damn it.”

Rogelio is one of the converted.  He drinks warm milk with Cola Cao before work every day.  He thinks that soon he and Yago will be doing morning male-bonding over their chocolate milk breakfast of Champions.

“Come on Mom, let me have some Cola Cao.  It’s just cereal!”

NO!

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19 comments

  1. My mom is still horrified after all these years….my cousin who was 6 was drinking chocolate milk out of a bottle…that had the nipple cut off so he could get it faster :O Can you say gross!!

    1. Hey!!
      I know this name!
      Mrs. Laura Logan meet Mrs. Rea
      Rea…Laura grew up just down the road from me, we’ve recently been back in touch. And I told her about you…and oh darn, I was supposed to tell you how much she enjoys your blog. See Laura is VERY Portugese. LOL. I guess there is some connection (at least thru crazy “chocolate cereal” if anything!)

    1. That is CLASSIC! Thanks so much, I never thought to search for a commercial. I love the “Alimento Completo” (complete nutrition) on the old label. Thanks for reading.

  2. This is how Brazilians END the day! A steaming cup of milk with two heaping spoonfuls of a chocolatey powder (can’t remember the name) and a piece of bread to dunk in it. My MIL was horrified when she found out we don’t drink this for dinner and made me bring some back with us the first time we visited. I think I gave it to Goodwill.

  3. I most definitely do not miss Cola-Cao (my brother’s preferences, I must say, made my parents’ household more of a Nesquik one). What I do miss, though, perhaps because I’m Catalan, is Cacaolat.

    And jamón ibérico. And morcilla. My craving for a plate of either could be measured on the Richter scale.

  4. None of the Spaniards I know have this for breakfast, but my bf was unsure whether it had sugar, hahahaha! He (sometimes) adds more sugar. Oh my. He is my goloso.

    I sometimes cringe at the idea of eating cookies for breakfast, but then I think of “kids’ cereal” like Frosted Flakes and realize cookies are not any less healthy than THAT.

    1. I have always had Cola Cao and Im Spanish, as far as I know =)
      its a great snack, tastes amazingly and doesn’t get you too fat if any, it does provide a good boost and energy without the downside of coffee. I lived in England a few years and saw most people drinking loads of coffee and fried stuff from early morning, but, I took my Cola Cao with me haha.
      Anyway its no substitute for an appropriate diet, but Im surely a very healthy fellow up til now, so I will keep drinking it every now and then.

  5. Cola Cao has been around long before obesity was a problem here…not that I’m saying it’s especially healthy, but the obesity has mostly been brought on by introducing so many processed foods into the Spanish diet. People don’t have time to cook the way they used to and it shows. And lack of exercise doesn’t help…kids used to play outside a lot more, and now they spend way too much time in front of the tv or playing video games.

    My kids have Cola Cao for breakfast along with some toast or magdalenas, but they don’t eat a lot of sugar aside from that, and they eat healthy home cooked meals made from scratch. Not a single extra ounce of fat anywhere to be found on them. My motto is: everything in moderation.

    1. Rogelio is fit and drinks cola cao, and also claims that all the healthy people he knows do too. The unhealthy ones drink Pepsi for breakfast. I agree, if everyone continued to eat potaje for lunch the obesity problem wouldn’t exist. Cola cao is just the tip of the convenience food iceburg.

  6. In rural Spain, where I’ve been living until recently, the doctors recommend Cola Cao as a treatment for all kinds of bumps and scrapes that kids encounter as if it has some kind of medicinal properties. That’s not to mention that they actually **prescribe** Aquarius (Spain’s answer to lucozade) to people with a sickness bug!
    I’m a fan of Cola Cao and sometimes have it for breakfast and sometimes have it for supper. I also agree with everything in moderation, though that can be pretty hard to teach to the little ones!
    Right, off for a mid-afternoon warm milky drink!
    Saludos!

  7. Yeah I have come across the prescribing thing, beats the hell outta Calpol, my kids would rather have chocolate milk anytime – and they insist their Spanish schoolfriends live on the stuff, unlike their regime under cruel Brit parents who limit it to weekends…

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