I'm a Keralite who neither loves nor worships tea. Neither does my husband. I don't drink coffee. My husband does. I've never been too fond of either beverages. I attribute that to my sweet tooth. I cannot drink tea without contaminating it with teaspoons' full of sugar. I enjoy a South-Indian style freshly brewed filter coffee minus the sugar. Sometimes a chai latte. Then again, it's not something I need to wake up to. Or not drinking it doesn't give me a headache.
Hot chocolate is another story. There was a time I would gulp down anything sold in that name. Now, it is different. Hot chocolate should taste of real cocoa. Not of milk. Not of malt. Certainly not of whipping cream. The ones sold at supermarkets don't taste truly like chocolate. Or maybe I haven't found a good brand yet. The one place that sells my favorite hot chocolate to go is Caribou Coffee. They melt your selection of white, milk or dark chocolate and whip it up in warm milk. Bliss. You can gather I take my cocoa very very seriously.
This winter in the UAE has been the best of what I can remember. The only bother is it becomes extremely difficult to haul myself out of bed. I am enjoying the chill in the morning and grey sky diffused sunshine. On such a lovely morning, imagine my excitement when I found this article online. "How to make perfect hot chocolate." Here is a food writer who takes the quality of hot chocolate as seriously I do. Felicity Claoke is also the winner of the 2011 Guild of Food Writers awards for Food Journalist of the Year and New Media of the Year which meant I can vouch for credibility.
She has tried six, yes six, methods of hot chocolate recipes before finalizing on what she found to be the best. These included versions spiced with cardamom and even lavender but I feel such strong spices would overpower the flavor of the chocolate. This is it. The real stuff. The star of the beverage is the chocolate and it's divinely smooth in your mouth and each sip warms you up from within and I can go on.
If that decadent pleasure wan't enough, I accompanied my hot mug with shortbread. Two different types that included chocolate hazelnut chunk and chocolate chip. Enough said.
Felicity Cloakes' final tried and tested version.
- 450ml whole milk
- 70g 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped or grated
- 30g good-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped or grated
- 75ml single cream
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Warm about 150ml milk in a pan over a medium heat and stir in the chocolate.
- Continue to stir until the chocolate has melted into the milk, then whisk in the remaining milk and the cream.
- Continue to heat until the mixture is hot, but not boiling, then add the cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
- Taste, adjust if necessary, and serve.
- For a frothy finish, whisk vigorously just before pouring.
Enjoy your hot cuppa of cocoa.
Have a good food day.