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.’