It used to be a die-hard tradition that we visited Paris late in the year. There’s something romantic about the Parisian architecture against the grey-white skies of the colder months, and the brisk air never prohibited us from wandering the streets and spending time sitting outside of cafés people-watching while we warmed our hands and lips on rich, velvety Parisian hot chocolate, or ‘Chocolat Chaud’.
These days, we opt to explore more of Europe, and in recent years we’ve visited the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, all late in the year as the wind starts to bite, scarves become necessary and hands are thrust into coat pockets to be released only to nestle a warm pastry, or beverage.
While our annual trips to Paris are dormant, my longing for small cups of that deeply satisfying Parisian hot chocolate still emerges year after year as soon as the weather shifts from Summer to Autumn.
Though our summer this year has been indistinguishable, tepid at best, Autumn has made an entrance with its dignity in tact; there’s all the darkness, rain, wind and leaf fall we expect of her and with it, my unyielding urge to dive into carb loaded food, wrap myself in heavy knitted blankets and sip thick, creamy hot chocolate has arrived.
Fortunately, this recipe is so simple to make that the craving is an easy and quick one to satisfy. A common misconception is that the thickness of Parisian hot chocolate is due to the addition of cream however it’s actually the result of boiling milk and chocolate. Here, the less traditional ingredient of ground cardamom adds a gently warming and sweet note, though you may leave it out if preferred.
Thick Parisian Hot Chocolate with Cardamom and Sea Salt
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe
Ingredients for two espresso cup size servings
Whole milk, 250ml
Dark chocolate (finely chopped), 100g
Cardamom (freshly ground), 1/4 tsp
Fleur de Sel (flaky sea salt), a pinch
Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the freshly ground cardamom to infuse. Heat the milk and cardamom until warm enough to melt chocolate (around 30º).
Once the milk is warm enough to melt the chocolate, add it to the milk and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the milk is beginning to boil. Continue to whisk on a very low boil for about 2 minutes, or until thick.
Add a little Fleur de Sel, stir and serve warm. Enjoy immediately.