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Real Hot Chocolate (page 2 of 2)

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The ultimate hot chocolate is the simplest thing in the world - provided you have the right pot.
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Heat the pot with a little hot water so that your chocolate will remain hot, then pour the chocolate into the pot.

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Moussoir and lid go down together ...

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... and you start foaming your chocolate by rubbing the stick between your palms like so.

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Serve with a few meringues...

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... and drink the dark liquid into oblivion.

The liquid has an intense chocolate taste that disappears into the mouth, leaving only its black memory imprinted onto the tongue. No fatty residue that sticks to your gums like when you use milk. As bitter or sweet as you like - just vary the quantity of sugar to your taste. A real classic.


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  • #1
  • Comment by Michigan
When I was a college student visiting Paris for the first time, I remember sitting down to a hotel breakfast of hot chocolate, a croissant and strawberry jelly. It was incredible. The hot chocolate was like what you prepared, the croissant literally melted in my mouth and I licked the jam spoon clean. Thanks for bringing back a great memory.
  • #2
  • Comment by Kirsten
The new photography setup makes for beautiful pictures.  I especially like how the white items (moussoir, cup, meringues) look so clean and detailed against the background.  Love your site; keep up the good work!
I totally need one of those little pots. I've seen them in stores but never thought about how they were used. Thanks for the demo!

Your hot chocolate looks divine!
  • #4
  • Comment by Alan
Gawd, I can already SMELL the chocolate all the way here in Manila. I suddenly have a desperate craving for a cup. Francois, you are the demon of hedonism (I mean that in a good way) and as usual your pix are sensational. What camera do you use?
Btw, thanks to the Spanish who lorded it over this place for more than three hundred years, the Philippines has a tradition of chocolate drinking (we also grow cacao beans) and we also have frothers (batidor). Traditionally, our cocoa comes in "tablets" -- we drink our hot cocoa with a Spanish pastry called churros, and we also pour hot thick sweet chocolate as a sauce over a small rice cake we call suman.
This looks wonderful, but here in America we would have to be weaned from our fixation on milky hot chocolate before we could fully appreciate your version. But it does remind me of the excellent Mexican hot chocolate that I sometimes make. It has cinnamon and just a dash of milk, but certainly not the huge dose that most of us here have come to expect. I'll bet this is similar to the pots of chocolate that were served to European royalty when chocolate was a luxury!
  • #6
  • Comment by JD
I wish i would've read this a week ago before I went back on the diet. This looks delicious!
  • #7
  • Comment by Alex
Interesting choice of cup.  If I'm not mistaken, that's a gaiwan.  
It all makes sense now! I had always wondered how French hot chocolate was made as it's almost impossible to find something equivalent in Canada. I'll have to hunt down one of these pots at once. Is there anything that could be used to substitute for the frother in the meantime?
  • #9
  • Comment by Randall
Hiya fx - love your website and can't help but admire the time you put into it.  You should be getting paid for this!
I'll give this recipe a shot because your photos make it look delicious, but I have misgivings about a non-dairy hot chocolate.  Just seems it would be richer with milk.  Anyway - thanks for a great site!  Can't wait to see what you show us next!
  • #10
  • Comment by Luke
By any chance, would chocolate with 99% cocoa content work for this dish? I'm just curious, since that's the chocolate I've got on hand.
Ooooh!  This looks so wonderful.  Just like the chocolate I had in Paris!  I actually have one of thos chocolate pots, but I never knew how to use it.  Thanks!
  • #12
  • Comment by Andrea
Lovely photos as always. I enjoyed the informative post. I've never seen a European chocolate pot and had no idea there was such a thing as a European version of the Mexican molinillo. Fascinating to see evidence of how food, among other things, migrates around the globe.
  • #13
  • Comment by Tony H.
WOW...Jesus, that was good!
  • #14
  • Comment by Paul Mckenna
You expand my taste horizons with every posting.

This could be close to what the Aztecs drank.

I shall change from brandy to chocolate for my breakfast drink.


  • #15
  • Comment by CKfusionist
Oooooo.... that smooth flowing chocolate of yours reminds me when i did my orange caramel chocolate , licked every last part of it but good one otherwise for the chocolate drink .
  • #16
  • Comment by Shu
Forgive my ignorance, what does the foaming with the moussoir achieve? In the last picture, the chocolate doesn't seem to have much foam on top.
And how did you take that picture with both hands on the moussoir? :D
  • #17
  • Comment by Amy S
I will be on Ebay today looking for this chocolate pot.  This looks fabulous.  Thank you
  • #18
  • Comment by Jason
The Aztec and Mayan lords smile upon you Francois.

xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water".

If you're on a diet try with less sugar. Cocoa is a very intense flavor and quite delicious when the taste is acquired. I use less and less sugar with my cocoa -to the point where it's impolite to serve it for friends and family now.

Can't you get a cup of hot chocolate in Switzerland that is basically pudding -it looks delicious too.
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
Jason, thanks for your feedback. Rick Oppegaard, who made the boilerroom dosas, had sent me pictures of him making Mexican hot chocolate, very inspiring!
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
Amy, I think you can also buy it for a fortune on Epicurious. My dream is to find one in sterling silver, some are really gorgeous but sooooo expensive!
  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Shu, you have indeed a sharp eye! The foam I managed to get with the moussoir subsided by the time I shot this picture. I took the picture with the camera firmly in my mouth and pressed the trigger with the nose. Easy-peasy.
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
Paul, how about a drop of rhum in your morning hot chocolate? That would be the best of both world!
  • #23
  • Answered by fx
Tony, I just redid this hot chocolate recipe with another type of chocolate yesterday, it's just gorgeous, rich in taste but not in calories...
  • #24
  • Answered by fx
Andrea, thanks to your comment I was the one to discover the molinillo, how silly was I to imagine this was a French recipe. Mexican, all the way! I need to find a nice molinillo now!
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
Susan, have fun with your chocolatière! If you don't have the moussoir/frother/molinillo I think you might use a plunging mixer.
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
Luke, I doubt you could really make an enjoyable drink with 99% cocoa content chocolate, as far I understand it would be like using cocoa powder. You'd just choke.
  • #27
  • Answered by fx
Randall, thanks for your kind words, I hope a cookbook publisher reads this! As for the non-dairy chocolate, it's just so much purer in taste, and nobody forbids you to drink one cup of each!
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
Dave, you could do this just in a saucepan, then transfer to a jug or large and clean coffee pot and plunge some electrical mixer.
  • #29
  • Answered by fx
Alex, you too have sharp eyes! Indeed that is a Taiwan gaiwan, but used by a gaijin to fill it with chocolate. I guess my tea-loving friends would have a stroke if they saw what I did with their cup!
  • #30
  • Answered by fx
JD, this hot chocolate is not that caloricious, you could make one cup your evening meal, not hugely balanced but it won't blast the calorie count either.
  • #31
  • Answered by fx
Iamnotachef, here in Europe we used to prepare hot chocolate with all sorts of spices in it too. I have another chocolate pot made in Moustiers but didn't have any matching cup, so I used this simple pot instead. The idea is to show how great food can be very simple!
  • #32
  • Answered by fx
Alan, thanks for your praise!
I would very much like to visit one day the Philippines, it seems a very exciting culinary world. I use a Nikon D300 camera with a little SB-800 off camera strobe shot through an umbrella.
Francois, the Demon of Hedonism
  • #33
  • Answered by fx
Dana, I think inviting some friends over and serving hot chocolate in such a pot is both classy and simple. A memorable 'tea time'!
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
Kirsten, thanks and hold one for of the same, I just came back from a trip in France with loads of pictures!
  • #35
  • Answered by fx
Michigan, ah the power of smell and taste over memory. The day they fully explore our brain they'll find a whole grocery store up there. I don't know for the croissant, but you can prepare much better hot chocolate and strawberry jelly than they serve in Paris brasseries' right in your home!
  • #36
  • Comment by Callum
This reminds me of the time in Mexico several years ago looking for a molinillo in one of the markets. The happiness that came across everyones face when asking if they had any was approximately the same as the excitement I had when reading this piece. Unfortunately the molinillo I bought is much too large for anything but the most indulgent hot chocolate party, though it is an interesting item in my kitchen which very few people can divine its purpose. Not traditional I know but I often throw my hot chocolate in a blender (warm the carafe as you would the pot) for froth that is thick and lasts quite a while. Once again you have squandered much of my morning. Thanks.
  • #37
  • Answered by fx
Callum, isn't it amazing how people warm up and like you when they see a foreigner who knows the specifics of their food culture? It's amazing the street cred you get just by asking people about a certain ingredient or a certain tool. In India I had a man from a shop walk with me to the market and bargain the price down (he was definitely not a hawker) then help me carry a huge grindstone. Glad you liked the article!
  • #38
  • Comment by Luke
I could've sworn cocoa powder is unfermented, whereas proper chocolate is fermented. I'm probably wrong on that.

In any event, I figured I'd go ahead and make the recipe anyway and make the drink with my 99% cocoa chocolate. It turned out thin and bitter, but rather quite delicious (not unlike a supermodel, I suppose). I did have to cut a corner and use a coffee pot and a whisk, but I'm sure the result is at least comparable to what I'd get with a chocolate pot.
  • #39
  • Comment by HazelStone
Not everyone who opposes bottled water was raised without manners. If the spring is located near you, the environmental effect is roughly the same as tap water. However, you are likely exposing yourself to nasties that leach out of the plastic. My concern is out of love.  

Brilliant as usual.
  • #40
  • Comment by Helena
Hmm ... now I'm wondering how this would taste like if it were made with Belgium pralines and cocoa powder.

All this talk about how chocolate should taste, when it is made properly, reminds me of the mood evoked in Chocolat. It is a movie about a woman and her daughter who opened a chocolate shop in a small French village. Yes, yes don't mention the French to someone Swiss, I saw that response. ;)

Your website is going to either make me fat or end up with a very cluttered collection of specialized cooking gadgets, likely both. :P
  • #41
  • Answered by fx
Helena, thanks for visiting! Using chocolate truffles (pralines are caramelized crushed almonds I think) might work, if it does it would really be a coup against established French pastrymaking principles! A nice chocolatière is not really like a cooking utensil that you need to store but never use, you can showcase it and make meals or 'teas' for your friends centered on this. As for the diet impact - take it one cup at a time!
  • #42
  • Answered by fx
Hazelstone, thanks for your kind comment. Last time I used an Evian bottle in a recipe some freak pooped on the article, which made me wary of the Church of the Unbottled Water. But I think there is a big difference, I only use mineral water and not spring water. Ours sometimes tastes chlorinated whereas I love Vittel and Evian. Didn't know about the plastic though. Thanks for visiting!
  • #43
  • Answered by fx
Luke, I'm glad this worked for you! Maybe you should try to make two cups, one with your hard-core 99% cocoa chocolate and another one with a 70% cocoa content chocolate and tell us the difference? All I know is that the rest should be cocoa butter, a tasteless fat separated from the raw cocoa beans. Perhaps this makes the hot chocolate more silky?
  • #44
  • Comment by Luke
I'm not much of a sweet tooth, so I don't normally keep things like chocolate stocked, save for the darkest chocolate for savory dishes (bitter somehow brings out the umami), but next time I'm out to buy it, I'll get one with a higher proportion of cocoa butter. I imagine it would make it a bit richer, much in the way whole milk is richer than skimmed milk.
  • #45
  • Answered by fx
Luke, I also use bitter chocolate in some of my meat sauces, a little quantity goes a long way and it doesn't turn it into a mole but really works well with some dishes.
  • #46
  • Comment by Colin
Dear FX;

I must let you know that there is another step to the preparation on an immaculate drinking chocolate.  I learned of this from the sage epicure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin during some group study of his work.

“'When you wish good chocolate, make it the evening before in a tin pot. The rest of the night gives it a velvet–like flavor that makes it far better. God will not be offended at this little refinement, for in himself is all excellence'” (The Physiology of Taste, Section X).

Believe me, a night to mingle makes a world of difference.  Better yet, I find it most enjoyable about 3 days later after some fermentation of the beverage has transmuted the flavor into something otherworldly.  (Readers should note that cocoa beans are fermented before they are used to make cocoa powder or chocolate, and this secondary fermentation is nothing to fear.  After all, there are no ingredients in the recipe that can spoil or promote harmful bacteria)

Also, try replacing some of the white sugar with a lacing of raw honey.  The earthy sweetness is much more complex, and it highlights subtleties in the cocoa as well.

Regards, and enjoy,
Colin Gore
Wow, that is elaborate! But, makes me dream about how totally delicious your hot chocolate must have been when the whole creation process was complete.
  • #48
  • Answered by fx
Juliet, this hot chocolate is hardly part of any diet plan but definitely one of the better beverages under this sun!
  • #49
  • Answered by fx
Colin, this is a most intriguing comment, I need to try this secondary fermentation of chocolate, sounds like a the über-real thing!
  • #50
  • Comment by Helena

I was thinking of bits of roasted and/or caramelized crushed almonds surrounded by a solid coat of chocolate (surely you have Belgium chocolate covered pralines over there?) floating in a warm mug of hot chocolate.

Or alternatively, this just occured to me, another way to have the hot chocolate would be to sip it through a Tim Tam Australian style. Not sure how easy it'll be to get hold of Tim Tams in Europe though.

Now if I could find the time to showcase, make meals and plan teas on a regular basis, ahh bliss, I'd be all set. Oh well priorities, priorities, priorities. And the endless juggling of them.

  • #51
  • Answered by fx
Helena, I am not sure about the Tim Tam but as for time, I just made this hot chocolates with variations suggested by readers twice in the last few days and it works out to be a quick and very fulfilling dinner. A high 'tea' of sorts I guess!
Hi there,

What the heck is that ? :-)
With water ?
What about with milk ?
Now seriously, what's the reason for adding water and not milk ?
If you have time please answer to my mail.

Take care,

  • #53
  • Answered by fx
But José, it is adding milk, not water, that requires an explanation. Traditional hot chocolates is made with water, this makes for a lighter drink and offers a direct, intense experience of whatever chocolate you are using. I hear you are into painting, well, when you look at a painting by Liotard or Fantin Latour with a chocolate pot, you can bet they used water. Milk is terribly difficult to preserve and its use was not so widespread before ice and Pasteurization. I hope this helps and feel free to enlighten me about my carravagesque lighting in my last article.
  • #54
  • Comment by Ana G Csiky
Though, I do not have the "chocolate pot"... I do have 100% Chuao Cacao powder  and cacao paste brought from a trip back home in Venezuela. I followed the same recipe hand whicking the mix gently and it tasted like HEAVEN. Thank you for giving me the urge to make it with your gorgeous pictures :)

PS. I also had a laugh with the Evian note... If Evian is evil, I love the gates of hell...
  • #55
  • Answered by fx
Ana, sounds like great chocolate you bought in Venezuela, your hot chocolate must have been terrific!
  • #56
  • Comment by manu
This is crazy I got online to get authentic hot chocolate recipe and I see mail from fx cusines on swiss wine tart, as I browse through the site I see "real hot chocolate" whoa!!! It was strange but thanx :) will try it this weekend n probably try making chocolate pot at my studio as i am potter. :) Thanks a ton again!

  • #57
  • Answered by fx
Manu, all roads lead to FXcuisine! I would be very interested to see your homemade chocolate pot, don't forget to make a lid with a hole on top for the frother...
Hi FX, I was directed to your site by a mutual friend; and I just had to read the hot chocolate recipe. I remember making some of Pierre Herme's hot chocolate a year or so ago, and it was worth the effort.

Unfortunately the weather was so hot and humid back home that I never made it again, but now that I'm back in the UK perhaps I can be tempted to whip up another pot by your post.

Awesome pictures and keep up the interesting posts!

  • #59
  • Answered by fx
Colin, thanks for visiting! I have loads of recipe by the great Pierre Hermé, some probably better suited to tropical climates. You might like his chestnut tart, right up your caramel pumpkin tart's alley although very long to make!
Wonderful hot chocolate, just perfect for these cold, dark evenings!
Please could you tell me where you got your chocolate pot from please, or alternatively who it is made by?
I can't seem to locate one very easily.
I look forward to hearing from you.
  • FX's answer→ Louise, you can find those pots on Ebay, look for the keywords frother or moussoir. Several online shops sell them as well. The best looking are Moustiers China ones.

this may be the world's best hot chocolate. it's simplicity is what makes it so complex. i've posted a variation of your recipe on my website, adding a small amount of cayenne pepper to support the chocolate. of coursing adding a splash of whisky or brandy doesn't hurt either....

keep up the great work!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Philk, indeed there are many ways to twist this to one's tastes, and chili really works fine with chocolate. They even use this combination in traditional Italian confectionery, and god knows how conservative these are!

No milk. That's the way it should be.

Add a pinch each of cinnamon and pasilla chile powders, and leave it in the pot overnight and then reheat (as Colin says above), to really go Aztec style. Theobroma indeed. The stuff is like a drug.
  • FX's answer→ Octopod, I will try the Aztec style, I just received a molinillo from a Mexican reader.

I sho like me some of them chocolates. I'm going right now to the neares 24 hour wal mar to buy me all the ingredients. I want to drink that for breakfast every morning instead of  coffee, wich stains my dentures.
  • FX's answer→ Have fun with the chocolate! Make sure to use water only, no milk.

  • #68
  • Comment by barbara kralis
I will try your hot chocolate soon.  When we were in Turin, we were astonished by their hot chocolate version, so thick that the spoon could stand up [almost] in the cup. When we were back home in Dallas, I emailed the consulate, asking them for a recipe of Turin Hot Chocolate, which they gave.  They use flour to thicken it, they let it cook for a while to make it thicker.  Interesting, eh?
  • FX's answer→ Ah yes there are those who thrown in cornstarch but I think this is best left to restaurants. You'll have better success with my recipe - the traditional one. Have fun!

Hi François-Xavier, I am from Peru, I am a professional Translator and a self made Chef (Home)that loves food and eating. I came across your Blog by chance and I think it is probably the best one ever. How can anyone use flour to thiken hot chocolate? Your recipe seems wonderful, I have some Belgian BELCOLADE dark chocolate, will it work?
Congratulations again.
  • #71
  • Comment by carmen
Hello Francios Hope you are well. I love your hot chocolate recipe! It is similar to the one I make with the difference that in my country (Dominican Republic) we add corn starch (as a thickening agent)fresh ginger, orange peel and cinnamon. We also use water as you do and the chocolate we use is dark chocolate and cocoa. I would love for you to try our recipe and see if you really like it. I am sure you will not be disappointed!!! :-) Hope you have a very Merry Christmas among your loved ones!!!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Carmen I will try ginger and the other ingredients besides cornstarch, which I have seen used heavily (and I mean heavily!) in Spain and I don't like it so much. If you cook it for yourself you might be able to get away without the cornstarch. In Spain I always fear that my tongue will end up glued to my palate!

  • #73
  • Comment by Maria Jose Baez
I LOOOOOOVE U!!!!... Call me when whenever u r in Mexico City!!!!!!!!!
  • FX's answer→ Gracias Maria José!

  • #75
  • Comment by Omí Wale

In my country they feed children some "instant" made by Nestle's that is actually nasty.  Of course it has some form of powder milk in it.  Just awful.

I do not know who my mother got the taste from, but I got it from her.... that we use Hershey's Swiss Dark.  But we put milk in it; otherwise we think something is wrong.  We have been damaged.  Damaged by the Americans that lived in the Panama Canal Area.

I once feasted some friends with my version with egg yolk.... just nicely thick, but not too much. Adorably creamy.

Love your expertise and fabulous comments by visitors & yourself.

Omí Wale

  • FX's answer→ Thanks, I know Nestlé quite well and they don't make such bad products, but nothing compares to real hot chocolates made with actual chocolate you would eat as a tablet.

Nothing wrong with the Nestle mix, you just forgot to add the melted solid  chocolate bits to complete the drink....

Oh, the only chocolate pot available here (US) is $200 and it's from France! How inexpensive were you referring to?
  • FX's answer→ Not sure but on Ebay you can find tons of them

  • #79
  • Comment by Ood
where can I find the hot chocolate serving pitcher as shown on the website?
  • FX's answer→ Sorry I bought it in France I think in Moustiers Sainte Marie.

  • #81
  • Comment by Ood Stalcup
where can I purchase the hot chocolate pot?
I think it is so pretty.
  • FX's answer→ Not sure where I bought it, I think in France somewhere. But you must be able to find tons of such things on Ebay, most people do not know what it is used for anyway!

  • #83
  • Comment by Ami
My mom grew up on a farm in the Philippines where her parents grew cacao trees nearby. When I followed your recipe my mom said it tasted just like the "real" hot chocolate she used to drink as a child. Awesome. Thanks for helping me bring back a good memory for her.
  • FX's answer→ Well this is quite an endorsement! Chocolate straight from the tree, intriguing....

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