We may not be able to escape to a European Summer this year, but you can get a winter warming touch of Europe with a decadent hot chocolate - the type you will experience as chocolat chaud in Paris or cioccolato caldo in Rome.
Here's my favourite recipe.
It takes a little longer to make than your standard drinking chocolate, however it's well worth the effort when you taste the difference. Oh, and the trick to making a great hot chocolate is to use the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on.
200g chocolate| 60-70% finely chopped - I prefer Valrhona Guanaja 70%
600g full fat milk |or your favourite non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons of muscovado sugar - optional | or other sweetener to taste (only if you prefer a sweeter hot chocolate; I find the sugar in the chocolate enough)
Gently heat the milk on the stove top until it is warmed through; do not boil.
Remove the milk from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted.
Return the saucepan to the stove top and gently heat for 3-5 minutes until you achieve your desired consistency. Continue to whisk as you gently heat.
Add sugar or sweetener if using. Tip: always add in increments tasting as you go - it is easy to add but near impossible to remove.
Add any other flavour options whilst continuing to whisk, see below for ideas.
This recipe can be made in advance and kept in the fridge, which will also help to thicken it. Gently reheat to serve.
A few flakes of quality sea salt.
Vanilla seeds or a whole vanilla pod with seeds removed.
A few tablespoons of heavy cream.
A dash of cognac or whisky.
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Fancy something that takes less effort?
The good news is you can buy great quality drinking chocolate - just not from the supermarket. (Those mass-market brands often have more sugar than chocolate!!)
What’s different about this product is Cuvée make their amazing quality chocolate as per normal, just in big slabs. They then grind the chocolate into a powder which is what you receive, and can use to whip up a great hot chocolate in no time. World's apart from the supermarket varieties. Enjoy :)
Photo courtesy of Cuvée Chocolate