Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate

All About Chocolate > Hot Chocolate

From its beginnings…
Hot chocolate should be sipped slowly, savoured as a little treat that recalls aromas from childhood, of days when we'd come home from school and wrap our frozen hands around a steaming mug …

The Mayans and the Aztecs would drink their hot chocolate from large bowls so that they could take in all its aromas, a custom that has continued up to the present day.

The art of hot chocolate in the 18th century
The chocolate should be well whisked, well rested, with a touch of vanilla to give it a thick and velvety consistency.

The art of chocolate according to Brillat-Savarin
Happy chocolate, which after crossing the world,
In women's smiles
Finds death in a melting delicious kiss from their mouth

Brillat-Savarin is the undisputed master of hot chocolate which he calls the chocolate of the afflicted. In his excellent book on the classics of the table, he recommends chocolate as "a stomachic and even digestive tonic" and attributes to cocoa restorative properties capable of reviving even the most faltering strength by adding all the wisdom of the east: vanilla, cinnamon, mace, cane sugar and a few grains of ambergris.

"This is the appropriate place," says Brillat-Savarin, "to speak of the properties of chocolat ambré, chocolate with ambergris, properties which I have verified through many experiments, and the results of which I proudly present to my readers. Therefore, let every man who has drunk a few too many draughts from the cup of pleasure, every man who has spent a good portion of time working that ought to have been spent sleeping, every witty man who feels he has temporarily become dull, every man who finds the air close, the time long and the atmosphere oppressive, every man who finds himself tormented by an obsession that takes away his free thought, let all of them, we say, administer to themselves a good half litre of chocolat ambré, at the rate of 60 to 72 grains of amber per half kilogram, and they will experience a marvel."

It was from Madame d'Arestrel, superior of the Convent of the Visitation in Belley, that Brillat-Savarin learned the art of making a good chocolate, a mixture of Caraque, Sainte-Madeleine and Berbice. " 'Monsieur,' Madame d'Arestrel said to me over 50 years ago, 'When you would like to have some good chocolate, have it made the night before in a faience coffee pot and leave it. Resting overnight will concentrate it and give it a velvetiness that makes it even better. The good Lord cannot object to this little refinement, since He Himself is all excellence.'"

The art of hot chocolate with Carême
Antonin Carême, the famous cook to the Prince of Bénévent, envied by the Emperor Napoleon, refined the recipe even further by adding cognac, honey, fresh cream and toasted almonds.

On a spirit burner, Carême would heat up a simple hot chocolate for which the grains had been cooked the night before. He followed the same principle laid down by Brillat-Savarin. With a small golden spoon, as if for some exotic rite, Carême carefully measured out each ingredient that went into his chocolate recipe and filled a fine cup with this steaming mixture, which was to be taken three times a day for a quick and complete recovery.

Search within the site
Advanced search >
Register free to receive our official newsletter
Sign up
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:
Get the daily and monthly recipe posts automatically added to your newsreader.
Sign up