There’s a vast difference between hot chocolate and cocoa–the former made with chocolate (which includes the fatty cocoa butter) and the latter made with cocoa powder (from which the cocoa butter has largely been removed). Hot chocolate is velvet to cocoa’s cotton–rich and luxurious.
Michael Turback’s Hot Chocolate cookbook takes that swath of velvet and cuts and stitches it into the wealth of a ball gown. Tonight we made a citrus hot chocolate recipe that still lingers with me. We blended sugar and orange peel, simmering it with cream and milk, whisking in decadent Valrhona chocolate and orange liqueur, topping it off with whipped cream–the kind of pure indulgence we rarely allow ourselves any more.
Drinking it–I was tempted to say eating it because the experience was so intense and full-bodied–was to experience the essence of chocolate.