What could be more comforting that a steaming cup of hot chocolate, on a crisp Winter afternoon? Well, for most Parisians, nothing else. And today’s recipe is all about indulging in this decadent, yet utterly simple Parisian treat.
“Le Chocolat Chaud”, a Parisian tradition.
When in Paris, stopping your activities at 4:00pm and wedging yourself on a café’s heated patio to “people watch” with an accompanying “Chocolate Chaud”, is a tradition dear to locals – and one that I happily embrace whenever I am in the city.
So much so, that I actually have bookmarked in my browser a list of the Best Hot Chocolates in Paris (by My Little Paris, a great Paris-based blog) including some of my favorites: Angelina (a must-stop if you’re shopping in the Grands Magasins district) and Chez Cyril Lignac (one of my favorite French chefs). If you are planning a trip to Paris anytime soon, make sure to bookmark this page!
And although there’s frankly nothing better than enjoying a Parisian Hot Chocolate in Paris, it’s also the best beverage to prepare at home: it’s decadent, comforting and so easy to make! Another recipe that I think shows how simple it is to recreate authentic French flavors within your own home.
The essentials: top-quality chocolate & whole milk (and no cream!)
To me, what makes an excellent Parisian hot chocolate is it is rich in chocolate flavors, but not too rich. That means, it includes a great amount of top-quality chocolate and milk. No cream (despite all the assumptions!). This creates a silky smooth beverage that is deeply chocolatey. But you don’t really feel too guilty about it, as it is not overly rich and heavy on the stomach, due to the lack of cream.
A traditional Parisian hot chocolate will be often served as is, left bare or with a sprinkle of sea salt. But I must confess I also love to add a heavy dollop of homemade whipping cream, which melts into the chocolate as you sip. You can also add a dusting of bittery unsweetened cocoa on top, and one or two clementines on the side. You’ll be all set for the perfect winter warmer remedy.
- Despite all assumptions, a Parisian Hot Chocolate is made with whole milk only, and no cream! The velvety rich texture is achieved by the choice of top-quality bittersweet chocolate, and a generous amount of it.
- Do not rush the process. Heat up the milk nice and slow, and whisk continuously for the chocolate to melt slowly (make sure you use a whisk!). Take the time to simmer the milk too, to create a thicker texture.
- To cut the bitterness of the chocolate, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of brown sugar per cup of milk.
- A Parisian hot chocolate is typically served in a smaller cup than hot chocolate in the US/Canada (ie. large cappuccino cup or small tea cup size).
4 cups whole milk
10 ounces (260g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 to 8 tbsp (50g to 100g) brown sugar (light or dark) – depending on how sweet you like it.
Optional: Whipped cream, for garnish
Optional: Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
Make sure you read the cooking notes above before you start.
Step 1 - Heat up the milk in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Turn the heat off, and whisk in the chopped chocolate. Whisk continuously until the chocolate is all melted.
Step 2 - Turn the heat back on to medium, and bring the hot chocolate to a slow simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, and whisk occasionally until you reach the desired thickness.
Step 3 - Turn the heat off and whisk in the brown sugar.
Step 4 - Pour the hot chocolate into individual cups (4 US size coffee cups or 6 to 8 French size cappuccino/tea cups). Optional: Top each cup with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a dusting a unsweetened cocoa. Serve immediately.
If you try this Parisian Hot Chocolate recipe let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram. Bon Appétit!