Now that winter has arrived, it is high time to enjoy some well-deserved hot chocolate by the fireside. The thing is, not everyone feels that hot chocolate should come from a pouch labeled Hershey’s and must be topped with a million artificially flavored marshmallows. As satisfying as this may be, there is very little chocolate flavor to be had from this typically American concoction. Here’s some of the ways in which the rest of the world enjoys their cocoa.
1. Le Chocolat Chaud
The French know how to do hot chocolate. As soon as children can eat solid food, they start the day with a huge bowl of cocoa and butter and jam slathered baguette. But instead of using milk or-egads-water, they use heavy cream and bittersweet chocolate for a luscious and full-flavored experience. It is rarely sweetened unless specifically requested, and often comes with a side of whipped cream to thin it out a little.
2. Hungarian Hot Chocolate
Though the Hungarians use plain milk in their hot cocoa, they add their own twist on this iconic beverage. A very special spice blend goes inside their drinks composed of white pepper, ground cloves, and smokey paprika. Though the paprika may seem like an odd addition, this spice goes in every single traditional Hungarian dish, so it is expected that it appears in their winter beverages.
3. Chai Hot Chocolate
Just like every other dish that comes out of India, local hot chocolate is incredibly flavorsome and full-bodied. Blended with traditional chai, this cocoa is the drink of choice for children and adults alike. Filled with spices like cinnamon, cardamon, and ginger, it is contained in the preferred type of chocolate: white. This hot chocolate is unlike any other and is definitely worth a sample. That is, unlike many people, the flavor of ginger is off-putting to you.
4. El Chocolate Maya
Coming straight out of the Yucatan peninsula, Mayan hot chocolate is much like anything else from Mexico. More chocolatey than most, this traditional cocoa drink is made out of very dark chocolate. It is made with fresh milk, then generously adorned with cinnamon and chili powder. Mayan hot chocolate is a beautiful drink in as much as it highlights a wealth of local products: it is common for rural dwellers to have farms and ranches where they produce their own milk, and chilis are usually grown fresh, then dried and powdered for a real kick.
Hot chocolate from the Philippines is unique in many ways. First, the texture is far from what we would consider a traditional cocoa drink. It does indeed contain milk and chocolate, but the resemblance ends there. Instead of melting the chocolate into the milk, hot milk is simply poured over a very thick chocolate bar, then stirred furiously until the result is more grainy than lush. The remaining pieces of chocolate are then whisked in for an unusual texture.
6. Belgium Hot Chocolate
Chocolate being the specialty of Belgium, it, of course, had to make the cut. Chocolate from this little country is typically very rich in milk and should be enjoyed thoroughly if the opportunities arises. But the hot chocolate from Belgium is really something special. It usually involves more than one kind of chocolate, but it is the Wittier Chocolatier recipe from Brussels that really takes the cake. This special concoction involves bittersweet, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate along with a tiny pinch of Himalayan salt for a surprising touch.