To say that writing about chocolate has been fun, is stating the obvious. The research was an adventure that teased my taste buds with exciting new flavors and textures. One of my favorite discoveries is the different ways to prepare hot chocolate beverages
Sipping chocolate, also called drinking chocolate is a European concept. Usually it's made by blending chopped chocolate into hot milk. I've tasted it with a small chocolate bar melted in. It's so thick and chocolatey you're forced to drink it slowly. Trying to describe the sensation as the thick chocolate assaulted my taste buds is almost impossible.
My favorite is Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate. You can add milk to the powder to get the texture you prefer. I suggest drinking it slowly from a small cup.
Many of us grew up drinking our hot chocolate from a packet. Add hot water and a favorite topping and we had cup of hot chocolate. Not much has changed. Hot chocolate is ground cocoa powder mixed with sugar and dry milk. Different brands might appeal to different taste buds.
Blend in hot milk or cream to your favorite cocoa powder and Voila! - hot cocoa. Sweeter blends appeal to drinkers who prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate. My personal favorite is Godiva Hot Cocoa. The preparation instructions are explicit - prepare with milk only.
Cozy up with your favorite hot chocolate beverage and a good book.
Just in case you haven't had enough chocolate - Chocolate Couture is on sale http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H0L1HAO
Here's an excerpt:
Lily Peradou watched as a tray of her lime-elderflower cupcakes toppled to the floor. Like a line of ballerinas falling into an orchestra pit, two-dozen of her most popular pastries now lay at her feet.
“Oh, Chef. What a mess.” Olivia, her assistant looked down at the floor. “I tried to warn you. It all happened so fast.” Friends and co-workers, embarrassed by Lily’s clumsiness, often tried to minimize the experience with excuses.
Lily knew better, she had no one to blame. She had caused the cupcakes’ demise. “I’ll clean up. You open the shop.”
Olivia stepped over the squished chocolate cakes and inched her way between Lily and the prep counter. A plethora of pans and mixing bowls hung from every available inch of wall space. Ovens, coolers, and baking appliances covered the opposite wall. In this cramped, but organized narrow kitchen, Lily managed to create the finest cakes in Brooklyn.
The shop at 4 ½ Smith Street would be considered limiting to anyone. No one suspected that the showcases filled with the sweetest desserts ever created held hidden dangers for a klutz like Lily.
Many years ago her brother, Zach had appropriately nicknamed her Clum,“a sticky matter in the universe that makes things go wrong. Being near Lily had the potential of a dormant volcano waiting to erupt. This morning’s big bang proved that not much had changed since that day when he bestowed the name on her.
This was not the time to think about past events. The mess at her feet needed immediate attention. She reached over the fallen sweets and grabbed her broom and dustpan. In minutes, the work-area sparkled.
Miraculously, two halves of the cupcake hung precariously at the edge of the counter. Lily worked best under pressure. Could she still make something out of this mess?”
Excerpt From: Zelda Benjamin. “Chocolate Couture.”