Sunday, February 11, 2007

Red Hot Chocolate Beverage

In the movie Chocolat, Vianne (the chocolatier played by Juliette Binoche) serves Armande (the diabetic lady played by Judi Dench) a special concoction spiked with what she is mistakenly recognizes as rancid cinnamon – but in fact is hot chilli pepper. The Aztecs, who were the first to concoct a cocoa drink – cocoa beans cooked in water and spiced with vanilla and hot chillis. This beverage was thought to give power and act as a phrodisiac.

After watching the movie “Chocolat” for the first time several years ago, I had an awful craving to try this drink, and so I tried making it myself. The ingredients, as in any recipe, make all the difference between an ordinary muddy beverage to an exquisite hot chocolate. Dutch processed cocoa is less acidic and more flavoruful. It has an unmistakable reddish colour (as opposed to the dusty-brown of inferior cocoa powders). Black chilli pepper has a rich, rounded flavour and is also quite sweet comparing to other chillis. And the brown sugar adds a nutty flavour.
The recipe is simple but feels very wholesome and authentic.It is richer and fuller than a hot chocolate cooked from cocoa powder only, but not as rich (and choking…) as the hot chocolates that are made of full milk, heavy cream and chocolate. I think it’s perfect – served as a fancy desert drink, a seductive treat or even a breakfast power drink.

2 cups milk of your favourite calibre (1% works just fine)
1 Tbs. Dutch cocoa powder
2 Tbs. brown sugar
30 gr. bitter 75% chocolate (I like Lindt – 3 squares equal to 30gr.)
½ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Black chilli pepper for garnishing

In a small, clean and dry saucepan, mix the cocoa and sugar in a small using a small whisk. Slowly add the milk, while continuously whisking the mixture to prevent lumps from forming. Cook on a medium heat, until very warm, than add the chocolate squares and the vanilla extract. Stir well to avoid sticking to the bottom. Cook until milk is just about to start bubbling.
Serve hot, in small cups, sprinkled with black ground chilli pepper – or your favourite hot pepper or cayenne. Other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom will work well too.

For a more spicy, aromatic hot chocolate, add the following spices to the milk before cooking:
1 Cinnamon stick
4 Cardamom pods
2 clove buds

Now, if you keep on reading to the next post, you'll find a very nice surprise...
...And don't forget our chocolate contest!

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At February 15, 2007 1:59 AM, Blogger helg said...

This sounds delish!! I am going to try it. Thanks! (I usually just add cream when I make choco-drink)

I remember Chocolat as being a very sensual movie. The way it showed chocolate being stirred melted and then rolled into little balls etc. Mmmmmm......


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