We recently started offering a drinking chocolate that is a unique blend of dark chocolate shavings perfect for creating rich hot chocolate at home. The inspiration came from a trip my significant other, Al, and I took to Venice, Italy, in December years ago.
In the frigid temperatures on a late night, only a few establishments were open, but we came upon a bar that was. The bartender offered us hot drinking chocolate. Because we didn’t speak Italian and he didn’t speak English, he pointed to his hand—to ask whether we wanted white chocolate—and to the dark table—to ask whether we wanted dark chocolate. We chose dark chocolate, and it warmed us to the core. It was a few ounces of pure bliss that neither of us has forgotten. The drinking chocolate was made of milk, heavy cream, and real dark chocolate—not cocoa powder. It was so thick we needed a spoon to finish it. This blend of dark chocolate shavings recreates that drinking chocolate.
Instructions for Preparing Hot Drinking Chocolate
For each serving, heat four ounces of milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Then whisk two ounces of chocolate into milk, until all chocolate has melted. Or, you can use two ounces of milk and two ounces of heavy cream if you want thicker hot chocolate.
Most times, I enjoy this hot chocolate without altering it. But when I fancy a change, here are a few ways I tweak this comfort drink—Cinnamon & Cayenne; Caramel; Peanut Butter; Boozy Citrus; and Goat Cheese.
Cinnamon & Cayenne
To create depth, stir a pinch of ground cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon into each serving of hot chocolate.
Cut two of our Dark Chocolate Fleur de Sel Caramels into fours. Once you’ve melted the chocolate into the milk, add the caramels into the saucepan and stir until melted.
For a peanutty, salty treat, mix one teaspoon of natural, creamy peanut butter into each serving of hot chocolate and sprinkle with a smidgen of Maldon sea salt.
Stir 1/4 teaspoon of orange zest and one teaspoon of Cointreau (or orange liqueur of your choice) into each serving. The aroma of the fresh orange zest and the hint of liqueur have a wonderfully calming effect.
Goat Cheese + Black Pepper
This is by far my favorite twist on our drinking chocolate. Add two teaspoons of goat cheese crumbles and a pinch of black pepper to each serving of hot chocolate. Don’t worry about the cheese dissolving in the hot chocolate – it won’t. Grab a spoon and enjoy. Or serve along with warmed and buttered baguette slices. Sounds like dinner to me!