Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Best Hot Chocolate in the World!

7/20 - UPDATE: The chocolistas found a photo of Argentinian Chocolate Caliente! Here's the LINK.

This post should alternatively be titled "Starbucks...Steal This Idea...PLEASE!"

I was over on the Chocolista's blog, drooling over recipes and decided to publish one here.

I once made a movie in Argentina. We left LA in March... fall in South America. As my body adjusted from spring to fall, the shortening days and the cool breezes flowing in from the rivers and ocean near B'Aires, and my coffee drinking days another year or so away in my future, I longed for a warm cup of hot cocoa. And after one cup, I was hooked and had to have hot cocoa after every meal.

It was like nothing I had ever tasted. And it was so much more than a beverage... It was an experience. One I long for in this country.

First I should explain that cold milk is verboten in Argentina. I remember a friend ordering coffee and, when it arrived, she requested milk. We waited... and waited. Finally the waiter emerged with a steaming carafe of milk. It seems you would never give anyone cold milk for a hot beverage.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when that first cup of cocoa arrived. It wasn't cocoa. It was a steaming mug of milk and, laying on the side of the plate, was a thin bar of Belgian chocolate - about the size of my ring finger. I was puzzled and had no idea what to do. This wasn't hot cocoa. Luckily, I was dining with my secretary, a native.

She explained that I was to stir my hot milk with the chocolate bar. Still confused, I obliged. At first I was annoyed. I wanted to drink it but it was too hot, so I kept stirring until all but the tiniest sliver of chocolate was between my thumb and forefinger. I slipped that into the hot, now brown liquid and licked my fingers. OH! None of that waxy American chocolate... this was heaven!

And it was finally cool enough to partake. It was so wonderful! I became obsessed. This was the standard way to serve Chocolate Caliente (CHOCK oh lah tay).

Sometimes the Belgian chocolate was wrapped. Other times it wasn't and it arrived laying across the mug, the heat rising and causing it to sag a bit. But it was always wonderful.

Chocolate Caliente

1 mug of steaming milk
1 small bar Belgian Chocolate

Stir well and drink slowly. Best enjoyed with a good friend, scintillating conversation and chilly evening.

(And yes, I have written Starbucks but they are apparently idiots and don't know a good thing when it slaps them in the face!)


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Anonymous said...

are you nuts? what have you been smoking? this is a winter post! It's too damn hot out for hot chocolate. Well, I am drinking coffee so I can't point fingers, but I guess I think of hot chocolate as something for a cold, snowy day, or even just a cold day.

You never know-I read that Starbucks is getting fewer customers because people would rather buy a gallon of gas than a cup of coffee.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Janet, Yes, true but... did you look at that blog??? All those recipes suddenly had me lost in memory of my favorite chocolate experience.

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling. Here I sit in Brisbane in the chilly morning...8 degrees Celsius. Yes, it is winter here in Australia. I've got my cup of hot chocolate. But, it is a sad, sorry cup compared to what you partook of in Argentina. I'm sipping Cadbury's Chocolate Drink Mix with a smidgen of powdered sugar added. I find Cadbury's to be a tad bitter. You have me considering pouring this down my sink and starting new. I've got milk aplenty, and I think I can find some chocolate somewhere. No Belgian here, only Cadbury.

I'll never forget my trip to Austria, Italy, and Germany with my mother. We were returning from Venice and hadn't spent all of our Lire, yet. Okay, yes, this was before the Euro. We knew that our Lire wouldn't be changed back to Australian Schillings, so we had to spend it. We had one last stop before crossing the border back into Austria. Hmmm...what to spend our Lire on? Italian chocolate, of course! That was the only time in my life that my mother allowed me to spend all of my money on chocolate. In fact, she kept telling me to go back and get more, because we hadn't spent all of our Lire, yet. That was some fun!

I'm going to send The Chocolistas readers to your blog to enjoy this post.


I keep two blogs beside The Chocolistas with my sister-in-law.

Comfort Joy Designs - where I promote my handmade crafts, and other fun stuff.

A Cup of Joy - where I blog about life as an American in Australia.

My sister-in-law can also be found at Mommie Daze - her personal blog.

See ya around the blogosphere!

Becky said...

Holly! You would do this to me. I love chocolate and here in South Korea it is horrible like baking chocolate. I need me a chocolate fix! Miss you!

Linda@VS said...

Mmmmm-mmmm! Makes me want to turn the air conditioner down a few degrees, put on a sweater, and try this recipe for myself.

Anonymous said...

Holly, I didn't see the link, I just found it after some searching. Had to look away. ;-)

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Anyone following along here... I hear that Leonida's has Belgian Chocolate bars here in the U.S.A. I wouldn't be surprised to find them at Whole Foods either.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Oh Deborah, Did mean to ignore you. I'll be checking out the other blogs and will get some beads to you guys after my show in San Diego the first weekend of August.