I have many weird food intolerances, and one of those intolerances means I can have neither coffee nor chocolate. Lucky for you though, I decided to ignore this intolerance in order to bring you today’s blog all about hot chocolate – hooray!
Seriously, does anything really speak to your soul during winter more so than a hot chocolate? There is something so decadently delicious about this bitter sweet brew that has us finding any excuse to indulge.
Whether it has lashings of whipped cream floating precariously atop the brew, or steamed milk covered with marshmallows, there is a hot chocolate to be found to warm even the coldest of hearts.
But why stop at whipped cream or marshmallows? What about curled golden flakes of chocolate, or perhaps a shot of baileys or fudge? For whey may seem a simple winter staple, there are infinite ways to enjoy a hot chocolate.
In fact, in Australia they have what is known as an Iced Chocolate! Image a tall glass with vanilla ice-cream, chocolate sauce, fresh milk and cream and chocolate dust! It may not be a hot chocolate, but you know at its heart it belongs there quite firmly with its barmy brethren!
Recently, Ben and I spent a week at St Andrews (quite possible my favourite town in Scotland) where I took the opportunity to splurge and treat myself to a hot chocolate almost every day.
Was I in pain by the end of the holiday? Yes.
Was it worth it? You betcha!
And given each of these hot chocolates were incredibly unique, what better than to share their secrets with you to inspire your own chocolatey adventures at home!
An Ode to Hot Chocolate
A Ganache with Panache
At The Cocoa Tree in Pittenweem I was delighted by a HC that was made using chocolate ganache – not powder or syrup here, you guys! When I placed my order I asked if it came with whipped cream and the lady laughed, quite good-naturedly, and told me quite firmly that they didn’t use whipped cream on their hot chocolates.
When my drink arrived I could see why – it was the creamiest, tastiest, most luxurious hot chocolate I had ever experienced in my life! In fact, it was so delicious Ben ordered one for himself whilst we cosied down to play a game of dominos as we hid from the weather!
A Malteaser Pleaser
One particular day with frostbitten noses and toes(es) we hid away in the North Point Cafe, a small but busy café, to treat ourselves to a hot drink to warm ourselves from the inside out. On the menu were Nutella and Malteaser hot chocolates – who could resist that! Definitely not us, and soon we were enjoying the hubbub and heat of the café, as well as our drinks – one nutty and one malty. My HC was topped with whipped cream then bedecked with Malteasers which I shared, most generously, with Ben. Hiding beneath the cream was an mass of marshmallows, which was a delight and unexpected treat!
Into the Fold with some Gold
A quick trip to Starbucks for saw a cosy afternoon spent enjoying the intense fudge flavour of this festive treat – topped with almost two inches of whipped cream before before finished with a generous sprinkling of golden shards!
Now, I must admit this hot chocolate was far too chocolatey for my tastes, however it was right up Ben’s alley and he was more than happy to finish mine (after I had finished the cream and golden chocolate, of course!)
Back to Basics
However, nothing beats a plain and simple hot chocolate does it? At The Criterion where we stopped for a soup and sandwich one day during our trip, we enjoyed a simple hot chocolate without the fuss and formality of any of the above spectacular specimens or chocolate creativity! Plain and simple, with hot and frothy milk, and a small pile of mini marshmallows, sometimes all you need in life are the simple pleasures, and nothing is more pleasurable than a well made hot chocolate to keep the winter blues away.
When you’re not lifting away layers of whipped cream, or crunchy on candy adornments, you get to enjoy the actual chocolate, rather than the (always appreciated) extras. And when it’s as simple and warming as this HC, there’s nothing left to worry about – except the winter chill awaiting you outside!
Are you a hot chocolate fan? What’s your secret to the perfect cup of chocolatey goodness?