Friday, May 18, 2007

History of Hot Chocolate...

Chocolat Chaud at Angelina, watercolor, 9" x 11 1/2"
This is my own personal history of hot chocolate...
I got addicted to drinking French hot chocolate on the low-end you might say. At Jean-Pierre's house in Biarritz, I tasted his kid's hot chocolate - NESQUIK. Embarrassing but true. Nesquik is "a milk flavoring mix" developed in the U.S. in 1948. I don't even see the word CHOCOLATE in the description! The adults drank coffee of course. On another visit I took to the kids' POULAIN GRAND AROME - the cheerful orange and blue boxes you see here. This is a common French supermarket brand - la poudre magique du petit-déjeuner/ the magic powder of breakfast...Hmmm
It's only in the past 3 years I've branched out to the finer French chocolat chauds, when I discovered better quality percentage chocolate bars. My tastebuds yearned for a more complex morning drink than supermarket kid's stuff.
Last trip my focus was on the Parisian hot chocolate research project - visiting as many of Paris' best hot chocolate cafes rather than buying new brands to test out at home. The multitude of brands in France is downright astonishing! I tried MONBANA and it's excellent. They had a sweet little boutique in the 6th arr. Marché St-Germain on rue Lobineau - here you can drink a cup or buy a box.
These adorable boxes are from Chocolat Chapon. I didn't get to their shop this trip or even taste these. But I will next time I SWEAR!
Most of these shots were "stolen" at Le Bon Marche - another chance to get arrested.
I did buy this hot chocolate to drink in my hotel room. I used hot water from the tap + a chunk of chocolate bar. What's a girl gonna do at 5 AM in the morning?
More hot chocolate boxes I regret not buying...from Maxim's
Here's my daily home brew - a melange/mixup of whatever's in the closet.Plus the all-important chunk of the best dark chocolate bar I can find. The backbone on my morning drink is 2 heaping teaspoons of Les Confitures a l'Ancienne. You can find it on Amazon. MarieBelle is new to me and made in New York. When it's mixed with the other brands it tastes less sugary, the way I like it. I did pick up Pierre Herme's Chocolat Chaud Nature and Angelina's hot chocolate the very last minute in Paris.
Heat up 1 cup water for 2.2 minutes in the microwave.
Pour slowly into the cup of melange + 1 square of dark chocolate.
You'll have a thick slurry to start.
Stir constantly.
It never tastes exactly the same, but it's always intensely chocolatey and sugar is a minor undertone. I nearly forgot to mention I always add 1+ heaping teaspoon of the best plain cacao, in this case from Michel Cluizel.
If you want this concoction to have extra kick,
make it the night before and heat up the next morning.
Variety is the spice of...


  1. Anonymous9:08 AM

    La chocolat chaud . . .c'est parfait!!!!!

    Bonne journee!

  2. You're a very cruel person, aren't you?
    Tantalizing all us poor antipodeans with the enormous variety of hot chocolate available in the northern hemisphere.
    I've just had to wipe the drool off the keyboard!

  3. Where are you Freefalling?
    Are you in the Anartic?
    I'll gladly send you some of my special brew.
    There's always Amazon...
    Hmmm...maybe I could market this stuff?!
    The idea I'm proposing here is you can concoct something much better than you'll find in any one box of hot chocolate..

  4. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Wonderful! Do you just whip up these paintings? I never read where you are to get all those great shots? What an awesome food life!
    I’m in the Midwest but making the best of it growing my own stuff and traveling to San Francisco to explore the food scene too.

  5. Teri,

    I kind of do whip up the watercolors just like my hot chocolate drink in the morning.
    In fact I couldn't do one without the other...

  6. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Where is our BANANIA ?

  7. I see a tin of Charbonnel et Walker on your kitchen table. I love it sprinkled on vanilla ice cream. I also drink it made with semi skimmed milk and dunk a Rich Tea biscuit in it.
    OMG I am starting to sound like you. Great post, I'm off to the fridge to break off a hunk of Green & Black's 75%.

  8. Anonymous12:07 PM


    I'm relatively new to your blog. Thank you for taking the time to post your photos and beautiful paintings. It's so nice to come to work in the morning and have Parisbreakfasts in my email inbox.

    A bientot

  9. Anonymous1:06 PM

    2.23 minutes? That IS precision!!

    I may have to engage in some serious hot chocolate drinking over the next month...and stock up on supplies before we go. Glad to know that I can count on you for ideas about preparation of chocolat chaud!!

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  10. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Ummm...You´ve been won by technology ;D.Now I remembre when I was a child,my
    father used to get up on Sundays for preparing us hot chocolate.My Father´s
    Family has own a patisserie&bakery for generations,and my Grandmother is a
    well-Known patissiére all over the region...Well,so my father prepared us
    that hot chocolate,with a wood spoon,light fire on the cook and removing in
    circles without stopping,always in the same direction(no sugar added)...So
    Carol,using microwave is a kind of"sacrilége" ;D
    asuncion aranda

  11. oh so much delicious chocolate....

  12. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Those paintings do NOT look like they were just whipped up during breakfast. Man.. I'm going to start drinking hot chocolate in the mornings from now on. ;-)

    Love the boxes the hot chocolate comes in. YES where is the Banania? I was given some to drink from my Friend, Jamie, who lived in Toulouse France for a time. It was pretty good. The box is fun too.
    Altho not as good as a nice thick rich hot chocolate with whip cream on top. ;-)

    Cris in OR

  13. Anonymous4:35 PM

    OOPS..Just looked the photos over again and in the second photo I saw the boxes of Banania..the photo was a bit blurred so I missed you didn't leave it out. Color me red. ;-)
    Cris in OR

  14. Anonymous4:44 PM

    I thought Banana was like some weird soy-type product...not real chocolate?!

  15. we are so missing paris...we visited laduree several times, once we sat and had afternoon goodies - my sister got the chocolate chaud and it literally was a melted chocolate bar, delicious with steamed milk stirred in.

  16. You and your pictures are so cool.

    And I'm always happy to ogle some good chocolate... but more happy to tast!

  17. oooops, meant to say TASTE:-)

    You are not the first to comment on my 2:23 minutes.
    Hey we all have our silly rituals and peculiarities and so do our microwaves :)
    Plus 2:23 minutes gives me just enough time to create this concoction.
    I should try doing it the night before=too lazy...

    To all BANANIA lovers
    I have a very old empty tin.
    It says:
    65% vanilla sugar
    25% cacao
    9% cream of cereals + banana biscuits(?)
    1% Phosphates that hot chocolate?

    Great Idea DI
    I must get a refill on my Charbonnel & Walker

    I'll do another post on Laduree soon. I did go there for petit dejeuner, though it wasn't petit at all!

    MERCI ALL :)

  19. Fabulous.............
    I love your postings and photographs!

  20. Whats a girl to do at 5:00 am??? SLEEP I say! And dream about the chocolate yet to come...

  21. Oh wow...this is stunning...torture...delight.....and I`m totally drooling...

  22. We have Caotina here in Geneva, in white, milk and dark. It's still not a patch on Green & Blacks organic drinking chocolate I bought in England. Beautiful illustration!

    Keep a lookout for a wonderful Swiss chocolate,
    YOu could always grate a good 1/4 dark bar of it into the Caotina powder.
    Caotina has a spa.
    I wonder do they have chocolate baths?

  24. Anonymous3:08 AM

    Banania is a not just hot chocolate but is a breakfast drink that is made from banana flour, ground cereal, cocoa, and sugar, and contains 2.5 grams of banana per kilo.
    It's very tasty and nutritious. Y a bon!

  25. Mary Hadda7:16 AM

    What you are writing is amazing!

  26. Anonymous12:32 PM

    I realize this is an old post however I was searching for hot chocolate brands in Paris... searching in vain for a brand I had when I studied there 20 years ago! It has a penguin on the bag, I thought the brand name was Penguin but I can't seem to find it. If you ever see it in your travels please advise the brand name. I would love to try to purchase it and relive that magical time. It was served in a Foyer and I feel like it was an institutional/cafeteria type brand but I loved it!!!!


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