Hot chocolate season is here! It’s time to wrap up and get cosy, and what better way than with a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate on a chilly January evening. Hunter 486 restaurant, located within five-star boutique hotel The Arch London, makes a mean hot chocolate. So Gary Durrant, Head Chef at Hunter 486, has shared his top tips on how you can instantly upgrade your hot chocolate game this winter.
Ditch the kettle
Replacing boiling water with hot whole milk is a richer, and therefore tastier, alternative. A splash of single cream at the end can give it an even creamier and smoother finish. (Ed note: For a dairy-free version that lacks nothing in richness, substitute with coconut milk like we do in our house.)
Use good quality chocolate
Use grated real chocolate (I recommend 70% cocoa solids) instead of powder to give it a more intense flavour. You will need to add sugar to taste to balance out the bitterness of the chocolate if you have a particularly sweet tooth. (Ed note: bitter or semi-sweet chocolate is a great alternative to the milk version if you're looking to reduce your sugar intake but still want a treat. I prefer bitter chocolate, it's the perfect balance of sweetness and cocoa for my palate.)
Don’t add it all at once
In a small saucepan on the hob, on low heat, mix the grated chocolate with a small amount of milk to create a paste. If you gradually add the rest of the milk to the paste while simultaneously stirring you will find the hot chocolate is a lot smoother.
Spice things up
When it comes to spices, a winter favourite is cinnamon. However, you can always mix things up by adding cardamom and orange instead.
Add a tipple
The addition of spirits and liquors can turn it into an adult guilty pleasure. Baileys, Disaronno and Cointreau all work well in a hot chocolate.