A Walk in the Park & Real Hot Chocolate

3 years ago


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

We are in the midst of winter in the UK, but you wouldn’t know it. As of mid-January, we have barely had a frost and I can still wear my summer shoes (one of the up-sides!). I even saw daffodils – the colourful harbinger of spring – coming up yesterday, one just about to bloom its bright yellow flowers. This is not right.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

But I must say it made my walk in the park a little more pleasant. More time to linger and take photos of the fading light without freezing my toes. A beautiful park it was too, especially when lit with the dramatic side lighting of an afternoon winter sun.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

And more time to marvel at southern England’s brightest new resident bird, the parakeet, filling the dark, bare winter trees with their luminous green.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

The refreshment available, however, left a lot to be desired. Pre-baked factory waffles wrapped in plastic, coffee drawn from a machine with the touch of a single button, ‘hot chocolate’ made with vegetable fat and emulsifiers. I don’t understand why people are still accepting this food. Both unpalatable and unhealthy it offers neither satisfaction nor nutrition.

Hot chocolate is always going to be a decadent treat, but there are real health benefits to carefully processed, high-cocoa bitter chocolate and the valuable calcium of fresh milk and cream. The horror of processed food is both what is put in and what is taken away.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

This alternative hot chocolate is inspired by those I tasted in Copenhagen, when I lived there between 2004 – 2007. Here I finally understood the attraction of the drink when I was served a lump of chocolate attached to a wooden stick, steamed milk and a side helping of freshly whipped cream. It was more of a dessert than a drink, involving lots of stirring, sipping and scooping to achieve the perfect, heady, warming combination of bittersweet chocolate, frothy milk and luscious cream. Incomparable.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

You can make this using the mildly more complicated chocolate-on-a-stick method described above (see tutorial here) or simply chop your chocolate fine before stirring it into hot milk.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

Two ingredients, barely a recipe, but rich, creamy and redolent of chocolate, just as hot chocolate should be. A dollop of freshly whipped cream the luscious ‘icing on the cake’.


Photo credit: Nancy Anne Harbord

Please click here to see the formatted, printable recipe on Ramsons & Bramble

 

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