One of the great pleasures of visiting Paris in winter is sipping a cup of hot chocolate in one of its famous cafes. Better yet, if you are in a maison de the or one of the great patissseries for which Paris is known, you might be in for a memorable surprise. Contrary to what most people think, French hot chocolate is made with milk and not cream. It gets its richness and creaminess from good quality chocolate and by stirring it on low heat for three to five minutes.
I don't know if the hot chocolate at Laduree is the best in Paris or not, but it's pretty damned good. It is definitely nothing like the one served here in the States. Like Spanish hot chocolate, it is strong and very rich and will fill you up for hours. I never feel the need to order anything else to go with it since it feels like a meal in itself. Laduree has shops all over Paris. My favorite, though, is the one on Rue Bonaparte on the Left Bank...smaller and less crowded than the ones on the Champs Elysees or the Rue Royal.
|Laduree Champs Elysees|
If you happen to be in the Right Bank near the Place de la Concorde on a cold afternoon, stop at the Hotel de Crillon and order a pot of hot chocolate. I had a memorable cup there one afternoon after rushing in during a violent rain storm. Completely unplanned and a nice surprise. Those are the best.
I have included in Laduree's recipe amounts to serve 4/or 2 people. Keep it handy for the next cold spell.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to skip the blending step. It helps to incorporate the chocolate and makes the texture velvety-smooth. Hopes this keeps you toasty warm!
Bring the milk, water and sugar just to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. At this point the hot chocolate needs to be blended. At Laduree this is done with a hand-held blender, if you have one leave the hot chocolate in the saucepan whip it with the hand-held blender of one minute. If you do not have a hand-held blender transfer the hot chocolate to a traditional blender and whip on high speed for one minute. The chocolate should be served immediately, while still hot and frothy.
If you want to store the hot chocolate leave it to cool before putting it in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to two days. Re-heat and re-whip before serving. Serves 4/ Serves 2
*Use best quality 70% Cacao chocolate