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European Hot Chocolate

I think I need to call Valentine’s Day out for what it truly is (or, in this case, was).  It’s an excuse to buy your loved ones presents, to go out for dinner, to drink a bottle of champagne together.  And do you know what?  That’s ok!  I’m all for finding reasons to eat lobster (as Eric and I did this past weekend) or whip up some chocolate souffles.

But, really, Valentine’s Day is just like any other day… and it’s important to do special things with your guy or gal every once in a while.  There’s no need to have a reason to do it.  Want to buy them a present? Do it!  Purchase a special bottle of wine to have with dinner?  Go for it!

The main thing is that you do something or eat something that you wouldn’t normally have.  Decadence is key.  And, in my opinion, there are few things more decadent than homemade hot chocolate.

The first time I had “European hot chocolate” was in Paris when I was 15.  And, from there, I was a changed man.  No more packets of instant hot cocoa (if you could call it that) with dehydrated marshmallows.  If I was going to make it, it was going to have to be done right.

And now I can’t think of anything that’s more romantic than some thick, rich, hot chocolate.

European Hot Chocolate

2 servings


1 cup milk

1 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, shaved

whipped cream or creme fraiche (optional)


Split the chocolate in half, but reserve a couple teaspoons, and put it in two mugs.  Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat, making sure to stir continuously.  When it starts to foam, take off heat and pour into each mug.  Stir until the chocolate has fully incorporated.  Top with whipped cream or creme fraiche and some chocolate shavings.


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  • Chef DennisFebruary 15, 2011 - 7:19 am

    it is amazing what a good cup of hot chocolate can do to improve your mood! I make real hot chocolate for my girls at school so they can experience the difference.
    Thanks for such a wonderful post, I too had my first real hot chocolate in Paris, although I was quite a bit older…what great memories

  • Angela@RecipesFromMyMomFebruary 15, 2011 - 7:27 am

    Chilly days are hopefully starting to dwindle by Valentine’s Day so that makes hot chocolate even more special. Such simple pleasures for all the senses.ReplyCancel

  • SMITH BITESFebruary 15, 2011 - 7:30 am

    hot chocolate in a packet? oh gawd, i’d rather eat dirt! if i’m going to indulge in chocolate, hot or otherwise, i demand the best quality possible – or i’d rather do without thank you very much. snobby? i’ll own it and say ‘absolutely!’ and this, my friend, is how one makes an exquisite cup of hot chocolate!!ReplyCancel

  • JoanneFebruary 15, 2011 - 7:30 am

    Although I think we should all take time out of our busy schedules for the ones we love every day, I’m all for any excuse to eat chocolate. This recipe looks delicious. So intense…the way chocolate should be.ReplyCancel

  • Belinda @zomppaFebruary 15, 2011 - 7:30 am

    This is one of the best ways to have hot chocolate – hot chocolate in the U.S. is too watered down.ReplyCancel

  • LizFebruary 15, 2011 - 7:41 am

    Such a perfect treat for a snowy winter’s day…yumReplyCancel

  • BridgetFebruary 15, 2011 - 8:06 am

    Mmm this looks delicious, I love drinking chocolate this way! I havent been in a while but I always liked getting the little demi cup of chocolate at Burdicks…its so rich the mini cup is perfect. Hope you had a Happy Valentines day :)ReplyCancel

  • Lael HazanFebruary 15, 2011 - 8:24 am

    Perfect! I make hot chocolate for my girls on the weekend. As my 7 year old says, “mamma, it is a way of saying I love you!” Of course right after that she spilled it on her bed but that doesn’t count right?ReplyCancel

  • bunkycooksFebruary 15, 2011 - 8:26 am

    Hot chocolate is definitely a treat for Valentine’s Day or any day!ReplyCancel

  • The Chocolate PriestessFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:09 am

    They do have “mixes” now for this sort of hot chocolate which is generally over-priced shaved chocolate.ReplyCancel

  • georgieFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:16 am

    Looks so inviting right about now… with the 18 degree weather we’re having. I’m sharing this post with my chocolate meetup group – they’re gonna love it!ReplyCancel

  • MichelleFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:28 am

    I couldn’t agree with your words more…we should find little but decadent ways to celebrate love every day!ReplyCancel

  • ElleFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:33 am

    I neeeeed a cup of this. STAT. It’s beautiful! Yes, chocolate is beautiful. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jill ColonnaFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:44 am

    That just has to be the best hot chocolate in the world. The best comfort, indulgence and the creator of memories! Thanks for sharing such a treat.ReplyCancel

  • LirenFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:48 am

    Hi Brian! I’m still chuckling at Debra’s comment about how she’s rather eat dirt than powdered hot chocolate. But so true. I had that same epiphany over hot chocolate in Italy, probably at about the same age, and it really is the most decadent, comforting thing to drink. Definitely perfect for Valentine’s Day (and every day!).ReplyCancel

    • PolaMFebruary 17, 2011 - 11:21 pm

      But Italian chocolate is not done this way and is way different than European hot chocolate… we put a spoon of flour in our chocolate so that it thickens up and becomes almost like a pudding. I usually do a spoon of flour, a spoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and a spoon of sugar, mix everything and add about a cup of milk. Put on the stovetop and stir until it starts boiling, keep cooking until is thickened and enjoy.ReplyCancel

  • KristenFebruary 15, 2011 - 10:03 am

    Brilliant cup of rich goodness… love it!ReplyCancel

  • katFebruary 15, 2011 - 10:28 am

    I’m so with you, if you are going to do it, do it right!ReplyCancel

  • Renee (Kudos Kitchen)February 15, 2011 - 10:45 am

    Oh YUM!!! Pour me a cup?ReplyCancel

  • Andrew FrishmanFebruary 15, 2011 - 10:47 am

    mmnn. . . I loves me some chocolate . . . especially when it gets dropped like it’s hot.

    Creo en los milagros. . . que cosa muy sexy!ReplyCancel

  • Jason PhelpsFebruary 15, 2011 - 11:04 am

    The real deal is definitely worth not enjoying it all the time!! I suspect I might be having some of this in a European locale sometime soon.


  • Ken⏐hungry rabbitFebruary 15, 2011 - 11:08 am

    The real deal is the ticket and that goes for ‘you know what’.ReplyCancel

  • ElianaFebruary 15, 2011 - 11:28 am

    The best hot chocolate I have ever had was in Paris a couple years ago and since then, I have never had a packet again. Brian, yours here looks perfect.ReplyCancel

  • emily @ the happy homeFebruary 15, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    absolutely divine! i’m going to try this tonight (or maybe add some hooch for cocktail friday!)ReplyCancel

  • MeganFebruary 15, 2011 - 3:41 pm

    I have the same philosophy. I’ve always been one to give little cards and gifts “just because.” I think it’s super important. And now I may have to gift myself this hot chocolate.ReplyCancel

  • Alysa (Inspired RD)February 15, 2011 - 4:22 pm

    That looks and sounds delicious! Much better than the powdered stuff. It’s already getting hot here in Arizona, so I might have to save this recipe for next winter :)ReplyCancel

  • Steph@stephsbitebybiteFebruary 15, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    Oh. My. Goodness. I’m making this tonight!


  • ElizabethFebruary 15, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    Ahhh! My host-mum made hot chocolate for me when I was a nerdy high school exchange student abroad. She’d have a piping hot mug waiting for me after school. I’m certain that’s when I fell in love with chocolate. Thanks for bringing back that sweet memory. P.S. Gorgeous photos, per usual!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara | VinoLuciStyleFebruary 15, 2011 - 5:47 pm

    Why yes, I think I will please. I have some great chocolate left over from a wine and chocolate tasting I did and I believe milk is now calling it’s name!ReplyCancel

  • Leanna @ Raptortoe.comFebruary 15, 2011 - 6:02 pm

    Oh this looks wonderful. I’d love some hot chocolate right now. It’s freezing at my desk!ReplyCancel

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CoastViews Magazine, Brian Samuels. Brian Samuels said: {New Post at A Thought For Food} #Recipe: European Hot Chocolate http://su.pr/1ZKHs1 […]ReplyCancel

  • FoodWanderingsFebruary 15, 2011 - 8:02 pm

    J & S would love it if I make it for them. I will tell them it is your recipe to make 100% sure they like it so they won’t think I came up with some fancy schmancy recipe I am trying to test on them:)ReplyCancel

  • JudyFebruary 15, 2011 - 9:11 pm

    I, too, have sworn off the instant stuff. Only real for me. With a dash of Bailey’s or Kahlua!ReplyCancel

  • Lora @cakeduchessFebruary 15, 2011 - 10:02 pm

    Muy caliente Bri. Oh my Deb’s comment is so funny! We used to always have the really good hot chocolate when we were little made with real chocolate. Hope you and E had a nice time yesterday!ReplyCancel

  • MarmandeintheKitchenFebruary 15, 2011 - 10:25 pm

    I too am all for finding reasons to buy lobster for dinner! I’ve never had real hot chocolate, but it looks so delicious that I might need to give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • SaraFebruary 15, 2011 - 11:43 pm

    Oh yeah, if hot chocolate is made the proper way even a no-chocolate-lover like me loves it :)ReplyCancel

  • MedejaFebruary 16, 2011 - 5:15 am

    Europeans have a lot of good stuff 😉ReplyCancel

  • Lauren at KeepItSweetFebruary 16, 2011 - 12:12 pm

    I am with you on Valentine’s Day… especially with the bottle of champagne:-)ReplyCancel

  • Jen @ keepitsimplefoodsFebruary 16, 2011 - 12:14 pm

    Classic and lovely. Gorgeous mug!ReplyCancel

  • KathrynFebruary 16, 2011 - 1:29 pm

    I agree! Why wait ’til Valentine’s Day to do something special? Now I’ll just have to convince my guy of that, too… :) That hot chocolate does look super thick and creamy. I’m suddenly having a chocolate craving!ReplyCancel

  • alyceFebruary 16, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    You’ve inspired me to try it this way with the shaved choc. Yum.ReplyCancel

  • sashaFebruary 16, 2011 - 4:37 pm

    oh, my! you had me at european!
    i love a good rich hot chocolate. and this looks so delicious!
    i will definitely have to try this one these nights. we are supposed get a huge snow storm here in utah, so that may be the perfect time to make it. :)

    you’ve just added one more reason why i should be living in france.ReplyCancel

  • LaurelFebruary 16, 2011 - 6:04 pm

    Yum…this looks and sounds amazing. I’d love for you to submit it to the M&T Spotlight at http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlightReplyCancel

  • Konstant KraverFebruary 17, 2011 - 3:31 am

    Yum, nothing beats a nice hot cup of chocolate!ReplyCancel

  • sippitysupFebruary 17, 2011 - 11:42 am

    This is beyond special, and a top 9 to boot. GREGReplyCancel

  • ASHLEAFebruary 17, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    There is just nothing like a really good cup of hot chocolate. I have never tried to make it at home so if we can get at least one more cold day here, I will have to whip up a batch!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Tarte du JourFebruary 17, 2011 - 2:03 pm

    I love your “do special things for your loved one any time” attitude! And the hot chocolate looks heavenly!ReplyCancel

  • CeliaFebruary 17, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    OK… so I will totally be trying this. My husband and I had a similar hot chocolate in Venice a few years ago… and I haven’t been able to find a similar recipe. So glad I found this!!ReplyCancel

  • SarahFebruary 17, 2011 - 6:34 pm

    Hello ! I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while and have linked to your recipes in the past. I was curious, have you ever participated in a blog hop? We’d love it if you came and checked ours out tomorrow, the theme is Favorite Winter Warm-Up recipes, this hot chocolate one would be great to show off! It looks fantastic. Anyway, it’s a great way to get some link love as well.

    You can find us here, and the hop goes live at midnight:

    Hope to see you there, take care,


  • muppyFebruary 17, 2011 - 8:12 pm

    Mmmmmm thanks for reminding me how good a real hot chocolate can be.ReplyCancel

  • MonetFebruary 18, 2011 - 12:14 am

    Hi Handsome Man…this chocolate would win me over any day of the year. I want to make two mugfuls right now, sit down with Ryan, and watch the night slip away…Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a great Friday. I’m so ready for the weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Quay Po CooksFebruary 18, 2011 - 5:02 am

    This is a perfect cup of hot chocolate! I love the photos!ReplyCancel

  • SukainaFebruary 20, 2011 - 8:39 am

    Nothing can beat a real hot chocolate. So far, the best I’ve had was at Thornton’s chocolate shop in London. They also made it by mixing milk with their own chocolate shavings. Mmmmm, can almost taste it in my mouth!ReplyCancel

  • Evan @swEEtsFebruary 21, 2011 - 10:29 am

    Work has been keeping me from getting to the blogs that I love so.. I can’t believe I missed this hot chocolate! It sounds perfect and much better than anything you get in a packet.. with some home made marshmallows I can just see myself sipping on this nowReplyCancel

  • MelissaFebruary 25, 2011 - 12:40 pm

    This is the only way my BF and I will drink hot chocolate now too! 100 times better than any packet. A few weeks ago we mixed Taza’s cinnamon chocolate with their chili chocolate for a little spice!ReplyCancel

  • NinaJuly 17, 2011 - 1:50 pm

    What would we do without Valentine’s Day and other holidays? Life would be monotonous.

    I love to drink hot chocolate all year around. Thank you for the recipe.ReplyCancel

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