(First off, please, no one shoot me for this funky ’70s ear worm.)
With Valentine’s Day looming later this week, and reminders of the traditional holiday surrounding us at every turn — hearts, perfume, flowers and candy, preferably chocolate — let’s go for a little different take (I mean, taste) on the holiday, shall we? What says love as yummily (sp?) as a delicious, steaming cup of hot chocolate on a chilly February night? Sipping that mug of cacao elixir, curled up by the fireplace with someone special, that’s kind of romantic, right? After all, just think of the Aztecs and Mayans. Perhaps they were onto something …
At my house, however, my DH could care less about hot chocolate, and my son will only drink the instant kind that contains mini marshmallows. But that’s OK – sometimes
that hits the spot too.
Over the years, I’ve managed to sample some others here and there. Here are just a few that I’m familiar with, for your sipping pleasure:
If my wallet’s feeling flush, I can go high-end with Vosges Haut Chocolat’s Couture Cocoa. They have two somewhat unusual flavors including Bianca (vanilla, white chocolate, lemon myrtle and lavender) and Aztec (cinnamon, ancho and chipotle chiles), plus a rich traditional, La Parisienne (dark chocolate with Madagascar vanilla bean pieces). I’ve only tried the Bianca, but it was quite yummy, and I hope to try the others one of these days. A heads-up, however, on the Bianca: A fine strainer comes in handy, due to its herbal-ish nature.
A bit more mainstream, Godiva offers canisters of dark or milk chocolate cocoa. Though they’re not exotic, they certainly fill
the bill nicely.
I also enjoy Cost-Plus World Market’s packets (serves 2) of yummy goodness such as Dulce de Leche, Mexicocoa and dark and milk chocolate. They’ve also done some other limited edition flavors but I didn’t see any recently.
Speaking of packets, Land O’ Lakes’ handy, individual serving envelopes of hot chocolate come in a variety of flavors (mint, raspberry, hazelnut, French vanilla, etc.). And they’re easily found in most grocery stores.
L.A. Burdick, a wonderful chocolatier out of New Hampshire, carries a dark hot chocolate that I’ve heard great things about but alas, never tasted. I visited their shop a few years back, but didn’t get the chance to try it; instead, I ended up loaded down with their signature chocolate mice which I was “muling” back for co-workers (waves to Patty, our lovely, international perfume “mule.” 😉 ).
Other brands that have drinking chocolates include Valrhona, MarieBelle, Dagoba, Lake Champlain, Cadbury, Ghirardelli, and more that I’m sure I’m leaving out.
And of course, you can always make shavings of your favorite chocolate and whip up your own luscious beverage. If I could hang onto the chocolate (without eating it) long enough to do this, I surely would. Add in some scrumptious homemade marshmallows, or a touch of your favorite liqueur, and voila — romance in a cup!
So share with us: What’s your hot chocolate of choice? Or your fave chocolate-based scent? I must admit that Arquiste’s Anima Dulcis came to mind frequently while writing this.