Get Paul A Young’s hot chocolate simmering on the stove, spice it up however you like it, and prepare to be popular.

We like our hot chocolate to be a knock-out: perfumed and potent. How does Paul get his so intense? No dairy is the first surprise. ‘Using water gives you the pure taste of chocolate, rather than milk or cream’, says Paul. ‘This way of making it is for people who want to taste the chocolate.’ And, we learn, using dark chocolate will give it better flavour and also make it thicker.

The grated chocolate itself must be tip-top: Paul is using 70 per cent Valrhona, and he advises us to use the best quality cocoa powder available, ie: not Cadbury’s, but a premium brand or posh supermarket packet. The best you can afford.

Your kitchen is going to smell gorgeous, by the way. The finished product is robust, yet not too strong, it’s very chocolatey, aromatic and warming, which is how we like it. ‘It’s chocolate that is hot, quite simply,’ says Paul. ‘It’s not just for deep midwinter: on a milder day, use a fruity Madagascan chocolate. Try different varieties, and work out which is your favourite.’

Paul A Young’s hot chocolate

You’ll need (enough for four mugs)

  • 1 litre water
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 100g organic unrefined caster sugar
  • 150g grated dark chocolate. The best quality you can afford.

A sneaky tip from the expert

You can use more or less sugar, according to taste; whisking it together with the cocoa powder is key to avoiding lumps. The boiling helps to thicken the drink (unlike Italian or Spanish chocolate, the sort you can stand a spoon up in, there’s no added starch in Paul’s).
  • 1

    Weigh your ingredients and grate the chocolate.

  • 2

    Whisk the caster sugar and the cocoa powder in a litre of water.

  • 3

    Simmer for five minutes to cook the cocoa powder. ‘Otherwise you risk getting that powdery feeling in your mouth,’ says Paul. Watch your pot as it could boil over as the powder expands.

  • 4

    Add the grated chocolate to the bottom of your mugs.

  • 5

    Pour the mixture into your mug, over the dark chocolate, and continue whisking. At this point, you can add spices: ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger – anything you like, really.


Paul A Young; 33 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8EA (020 7424 5750; www.paulayoung.co.uk); Also at 143 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 8WA; and 20 Royal Exchanage, Threadneedle Street, London EC3V 3LP

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