Sunday, June 3, 2012

Elixir: Chocolate Chaud

Chers Amis du l'Ecole du Bon Gout,  Bonjour!!  Hot chocolate, which the Spanish conquistadors discovered was Montezuma's favorite drink, has had a colorful history ever since!

Originally this exotic new drink, bewitched all who drank it.  It was thought by some to have been a health drink, an aphrodisiac, ( banned by the Catholic church for a time!!), and a medicine, but always a very special somewhat magical elixir to be savored.

I have been enjoying making, not to mention drinking hot chocolate, especially since 1996 when I stayed in Provencal B&B where Mme. Florence Hospital taught me her art of making hot chocolate! 

Today my version is:  For two cups of finished chocolate, place into a pot: two cups of water, two heaping, large, French soup spoons of "Van Houten" unsweetened coco powder (this chocolate is available at all stores in France, however in the US you could use one double square of "Baker's Bittersweet Chocolate" for each cup) and a generous dusting of very finely milled cinnamon. I use "Adams" brand cinnamon . The cinnamon adds flavor but more importantly it thickens the drink considerably.  Bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk as it heats. It is best to get this part done 1 or 2 hours before drinking or the night before. When you are ready to serve, reheat and add one to three of the following flavorings : almond ,vanilla, orange, mint, or anis extract, ginger tea ,coffee, red pepper ( Montezuma's favorite additions were red pepper, vanilla and cloves.  He is said to have drunk  50 cups a day!! When he wanted to be dramatic, he drank it from a solid gold cup and when finished, he tossed the cup into a very deep lake for effect, much to the consternation of the onlookers!!)  When the hot chocolate is in its preheated cup, I like to add a bit of honey or unrefined sugar and a bit of evaporated milk.  I also have had great success adding fresh thyme in flower (this is exotic), orange or kumquat confiture, mint you just need to be creative!!

In case you don't have the proper chocolate cups and other serving equipage, I have attached here, some photos of antique items available from Au Vieux Paris Antiques, which can help you to fully appreciate your creative chocolate experiences.              I look  forward to reports of your successes with this 17th &18th century "bon gout" craft: "chocolate chaud"!!!!

Robert E Smith    337 332 2852

Family imbibing in the elixir: chocolate chaud , painted by Pierre LeMazurier, 1772

Think creativity and alchemy!! 

Cups to suit your personality or that of a friend. (These make great gifts!)! 

President Jefferson acquired this pattern in Paris for later use at Monticello.

Instead of "Tupperware" for your boat, one could have this set with a nautical decor!! 

A "bon gout" and "not on the run" breakfast is one of the great luxuries in life!

If you weren't "born with a silver spoon in your mouth", I can fix that!!

Visit the Au Vieux Paris Antiques homepage (click here)
Browse a sampling of the merchandise available (click here)

Mes Amities,
Robert E. Smith   (337) 332-2852