Winter holidays are upon us. Since it is not clear what we will be allowed to do during the last days of this crazy year (I am being too kind with 2020 I know…) Parisian bakeries and patisseries are cheering us up creating delicious holidays’ treats. Unfortunately I must admit that I am not overfond of the Bûche de Noël dessert – too much cream for my taste – but there is something I literally adore: Parisian hot chocolate. The Parisian version of this popular winter drink is thick and smooth, it feels like velvet and, of course, it is delicious. Over the years I successfully managed to taste all the most famous hot chocolate in Paris and loved all of them… If you like chocolate, you should definitely taste it too!
If by any chance you are in Paris, the best places where you can do it, in my opinion, are: the Petit Comptoir de Noël of the Ritz, just outside the world famous hotel (mind that the little Chalet is just temporary, check when it is open); Angelina, the “incontournable” address for the best hot chocolate in Paris, mentioned in all the guide book; Carette, one of my favorite salon de thé in Paris. If you are not in Paris don’t worry, I am giving you the recipe! You will see, it is not difficult at all to make a Parisian style hot chocolate at your own place.
HOT CHOCOLATE – Recipe by chef Sébastien Bauer (Angelina)
• 550 g of whole milk (about 2 cups)
• 150 g dark chocolate 70% chopped
• 200 g chantilly cream
• Optional: Vanilla bean
• Optional: sugar or brown sugar
Heat the milk in a saucepan, add the vanilla bean and leave it in for few minutes. If you do not like (or you do not have the Vanilla bean, you can skip this passage). Remove the bean, add the chopped chocolate and stir until it is melted. If you are looking for a Parisian style thick chocolate you should return the saucepan to the heat and cook it for a couple of minutes more. The more you cook, the thickets your hot chocolate will be but MIND the heat: chocolate does not like it very much! Your chocolate should not boil up and remember to whisk constantly, otherwise it will burn.
When ready pur the chocolate in a mug, add sugar (if needed) and top it up with your chantilly cream. I usually go for the no-frills version: dark and bitter is my favorite but you can add all the sugar and cream you like, especially if you are drinking it with children.
Once you have mastered the basic recipe you can experiment: you can use a plant milk instead of whole milk; you can add a pinch of fleur de sel (a high quality salt from France); you can add syrups (like salted caramel)… use your creativity!
The SECRET of this recipe lays in the chocolate. Just go for the best quality chocolate you can find! And again, once you have learned the basic, don’t be shy and try with white chocolate, milk chocolate…
Ps. I do not know if it is available in your country but Angelina actually sells its famous hot chocolate! It is not as good as the one you can taste in the elegant salon de thé in Rue de Rivoli but it is the easiest recipe ever: you open the bottle, warm it up and it is ready! Check online if you can find it!