Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cup of Comfort

When I'm in need of cheering up, I often make myself a cup of hot chocolate which I prefer to hot cocoa. Melting even a third of a chocolate bar produces a thick rich mouthfeel from the cocoa butter- the simple luxury of such a cup makes one feel life must be good.

I normally use either almond milk or hazelnut milk as a base with budget dark chocolate.  I finish it off with fresh ground pepper, a dash of sea salt, and a splash of brandy.  For extra goodness, I swirl in a dollop of coconut cream.

When I was in Barcelona more than a decade ago, some of the cafes served incredibly thick almost pudding-like hot chocolate which I loved.  I suspect corn starch was involved- something I won't do but I will add corn meal or cream of rice if I crave a chewy thickness. Of course a baked treat to dip in this goodness makes it extra special. 

It's important to own simple sure-fire ways to lift one's spirits. I've been beset with puerh performance anxiety. Puerh sessions have been stressful for me lately and demands too much of me. Perhaps it's my approach and expectations.   I tend to seek excitement and adventure in puerh while I look only for comfort in hot chocolate.  I guess it's time to revisit some standard shus.


  1. I always use cardamom.


    One of these days, I'll try ginger, but I also like black pepper in hot chocolate.

  2. Do you grind your pods fresh? Does this indicate you prefer the camphor taste in puerh?

    I do cardamom and sometimes a clove/nutmeg mix during the holidays. My mouth tingles just thinking about cardamom!

  3. Unfortunately, I don't get to play with fresh cardamom pods. Just stale old spices that we never use otherwise (cinnamon is what we use for the oatmeal).

    As for camphor...I like camphor alright. However, camphor, either the taste or the cooling feeling is merely part of the frills. The main reason I love a puerh is whether it's dynamic and fun for me to drink the way it's fun for a dog to sniff out the car window. Lots of tastes, lots of different feelings in the mouth and body.

    yeah...hot chocolate, with fresh cardamom, a little cinnamon, and a flavorful variety of dried chili pepper. Or instead of the chili pepper, one of those nice sichuan peppercorns to give that satanic burn blended into the dark luxury on the tongue.

  4. Anonymous7:15 PM

    I like the thick hot chocolate they serve at Almare Gelato. They do add some corn starch, but it's pretty close to my memories of what I drank in Madrid.