Chocolate Week: Hot Chocolate

It's how chocolate began life really, thousands of years ago in Central America as a drink of "bitter water." When it was imported to Europe it was drunk for its medicinal properties and was so expensive that only the rich could afford it.
Thankfully, today it is much more and all too easily accessible and hot chocolate is one of the most comforting ways to get your cocoa fix.
For me it should be thick and sweet, ideally with whipped cream and marshmallows, (if something's worth doing...) and I would normally make it with half cream, half milk and around 50 grams of chocolate per cup, whisked together in a small pan.
It's easy though to tweak a mugful with other flavours to suit your own tastes and mood: a splash of orange liqueur or rum, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg (I don't really go in for the chilli and chocolate combo) or, as coffee is said to boost the natural flavour of chocolate, some espresso powder or coffee liqueur. I recently had an amazing white hot chocolate flavoured with cardamom which (if that wasn't delicious enough) was teamed with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream to make a "hot chocolate float" (pictured below).
Thinking about, and now beginning to salivate over, hot chocolate, reminds me of the time I went to
New York a few years ago with a friend. It was January and unbelievably, bitingly cold. For some reason I wanted to 'recreate' the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's, and so, armed with a cup of deliciously sweet hot chocolate and a croissant, posed in front of the iconic shop for a photo (below).
It also reminds me of a scene in the surprisingly good film The Polar Express where thick, dark hot chocolate is squirted and poured out of a huge machine into waiting china cups for the children on board the train.
And I think it might be time to pour my own now...

White hot chocolate with cardamom and a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
As good as it sounds.

Breakfast at Tiffany's


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