S how me a person who doesn't love hot chocolate, and I'll show you a lost soul led astray by one saccharine disappointment too many.

But take heart, for there is hope for the poor creatures who dwell in dark ignorance of one of life's greatest joys. I call on you, my readers, the chosen ones, to rise up, cast out the powder, banish the kettle, and lead on unto the one true union of real chocolate, and creamy warm milk. Heaven on earth, in a mug. Seriously, though: Cadbury has a lot to answer for. I was raised on its drinking chocolate, which my mum served up in steaming, milky bowls every single morning before school.

Sweetly fawn and entirely unsophisticated, I'll remain a devotee until my dying day. But in the s, the company started pushing a rogue "lower-calorie alternative". Soon the market was deluged with such false prophets, offering a watery quick-fix, and real hot chocolate began to seem an impossible decadence. But, while I don't drink it for breakfast these days, and will admit Xz Company a sneaking fondness for a low-fat chocolate Horlicks before bed instead, there are occasions when only the good stuff hits the spot.

That's any time it's snowy, obviously, but also on dark, dreary afternoons when spring seems to be receding Istar Korea Company view, or when life seems to be one long series of stubbed toes. When the going gets really tough, you can even add a tot of something a bit stronger for extra fortification. Hot chocolate will always be there for you.

As the star of the whole show, the choice of chocolate is of no little importance here. Good Food magazine's deluxe hot chocolate suggests this "or milk chocolate, depending on how chocolatey you and the kids like it". Perhaps I'm finally a proper grown-up after all. As I abhor that staple of the buffet table, this intrigues me — could I be about to break through to another level of hot chocolatey perfection?

Once the chocolate has been melted into the milk, I add sugar to taste — and by God does it need it. Even after I've stirred in a couple of spoons of demerara, the chocolate retains a bitter edge which makes it feel very grown-up indeed.

I could definitely serve this in a teeny-tiny cup after dinner, but it doesn't quite hit the spot in the cockle-warming stakes. Food writer and former pastry chef David Lebovitz author of The Great Book of Chocolate supplies a recipe from Brussels chocolatier Wittamer, which uses a combination of plain and milk chocolate in a ratio — although he cautions that the reader "should seek out a good quality one.

When it comes to chocolate, those Belgians really do know what they're doing. As well as using plain chocolate, Jamie adds cocoa powder to his Epic Hot Chocolate. I wonder whether this is to keep it light, by reducing the cocoa butter content, without sacrificing any intensity of flavour, as in Nigel Slater's excellent brownie recipebut as he then uses cornflour to thicken it, I can't really see the point.

While whole milk is the standard prescription for hot chocolate, the idea of gilding the lily with something a little richer is an undeniably attractive one. A recipe on the Waitrose website finishes the chocolate off with ml single cream — not a great deal, compared to the litre and a bit of milk that's gone into it, but just enough to give it a luxurious silkiness in the mouth.

Good Food, in obeisance to the deluxe billing of their recipeuse ml double cream to ml milk, which, while wonderful in theory, actually makes me feel a bit queasy. Going the other way, Jamie Oliver calls for semi-skimmed milk in his hot chocolate. Although it's still pleasant, I miss the butteriness whole milk brings — and there's only 1. Trying to make hot chocolate into a health drink is, in my opinion, wrong.

Sweet spices have long been a popular addition to chocolate drinks — in Mexico, part of its ancestral Mayan homelandcinnamon and vanilla are common additions. The Hairy Bikers use both of these in their recipeinfusing the milk with a cinnamon stick and scraped vanilla pod, then dusting the finished drink with grated nutmeg. The Maya are also, presumably, the inspiration for the two red chillies in the Waitrose recipe — they liked their chocolate spicy, although also, apparently, cold. The Aztecs were also fond of the stuff: Montezuma's court is reputed to have got through 2, cups a day, 50 of which were consumed by the emperor himself.

The heat the peppers provide is surprisingly subtle, but, while pleasant, it doesn't fit my idea of a soothing drink. Jamie Oliver has looked slightly closer to home for inspiration, adding 2 tablespoons of Horlicks to his hot chocolate mix.

But if I want a malted milk drink and I very often doI'll have Hawkins And Company — and there's not enough in here to make its presence felt in any case. I do agree with Jamie's pinch of salt though — David Lebowitz also includes one Siskiyou Buckle Company his recipe, and, while impossible to pick out, it really does seem to make the whole thing taste Having tried six different methods, as well as recipes, for hot chocolate, I can confirm that it's far easier to make it as one would a Hot Chocolate Company version, by stirring the chopped chocolate into a little of the milk to make a paste, and then adding the rest of the milk, as Lebowitz suggests, rather than pouring it all in at once as in the Nigel Slater and Good Food recipes.

The finished result is distinctly smoother, and the effort involved definitely less. Proper hot chocolate is a piece of culinary first aid that ought to be in everyone's repertoire Augusta Concrete Block Company Gordon Farmer I like to keep it simple, but this recipe is easy to customise with anything from cardamom to Nigel Slater's intriguing suggestion of lavender.

Experiment — all you have to lose is your waistline. Warm about ml milk in a pan over a medium heat and stir in the chocolate. Continue to stir until the chocolate has melted into the milk, then whisk in the remaining milk and the cream. Continue to heat until the mixture is hot, but not boiling, then add the cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Taste, adjust if necessary, and serve.

For a frothy finish, whisk vigorously just before pouring. Is hot chocolate the best thing ever to hit a mug, or do you have another favourite winter warmer up your woolly sleeve? What do you like to add to yours — brandy? This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is Hot Chocolate Company and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will Roofing Company Fremont set. The chocolate. Topics Chocolate Word of Mouth blog. Food recipes. Reuse this content.

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