An icy wind is rattling my window this morning, ready to blast me in the face and toss my hair frantically the moment I step out the door.
It reminds me a of a particularly cold, blustery day in Paris when all I wanted was a cup of something warm to wrap my fingers around.
Garbed in wool and swathed in scarves, Amy and I stepped out into the cold, sunshiny morning. striding past fountains, motorcycles parked willy-nilly, and Parisians nursing tiny cups of espresso in sidewalk cafes. We ducked into a charming little spot with shiny glass cases filled with quiches, tarts and a bevy of salads. Mmm, mmm!
I chose a marvelous quiche chock full of spinach, cheese and roasted chicken, and a piping hot cup of chocolat chaud – real hot chocolate with melted chocolate and foamy steamed milk. Delectable on such a cold morning. Amy found a marvy looking sandwich – smoked salmon, cream cheese and thinly sliced cucumber on a fresh baguette – and a hot cup of tea with milk. We found the perfect perch on wooden bar stools overlooking the street and had our morning dose of people-watching while we visited away and made plans for the day.
Parisian hot chocolate is so different than the lovely little packets of powder and petrified marshmallows we dump into styrofoam cups over here. Those packets are splendid in their own way. Many a camping trip, ski outing and caroling jaunt has been made bearable and delightful by their presence.
Parisian hot chocolate is made with real, dark chocolate, chopped into tiny bits that melt easily into the hot milk. It is served unsweetened and I like that. The steaming beverage is pure chocolatey, milky goodness accompanied by narrow little red envelopes of sugar for each person to sweeten to taste.
Once fortified and warmed by our bevvies and food, Amy and I bundled up again and walked to the Palais Royale to relive scenes from our beloved Audrey Hepburn movie, Charade.
They even had a little black dress exhibition!
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups half and half, cream, coconut milk, or milk
- Place chocolate in a small saucepan.
- Pour boiling water over chocolate in a steady stream, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Add milk and stir until well-blended.
- Whisk continuously over medium heat, until hot. DO NOT LET BOIL or chocolate will become grainy.
- Serve immediately or cool then reheat when ready to serve.