Saturday, November 17, 2012


It's a rainy November evening in Oakland. The perfect setting for my all time favorite...

Drinking chocolate is not to be confused with hot cocoa or even hot chocolate. It's a totally different animal. Whereas hot cocoa is made from a powdered mix of cocoa, sugar and thickeners it does not incorporate cocoa butter. Hot chocolate is made directly from bar chocolate, which already contains cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. Drinking chocolate is that only darker, richer and more intense. Usually made with the finest chocolate available it is broken into small pieces or shaved and melted into a thick and smooth drinking elixir. 

I consider the Queen Bee of drinking chocolates: Maribel Lieberman of MarieBelle Fine Chocolates in New York City. I first came upon her shop by accident while walking around in SoHo. Upon entering it was like I had fallen down the most wondrous rabbit hole into a heavenly French chocolate boutique complete with sparkling chandeliers and light-blue silvery cushions which perfectly matched the square tins holding the chocolate mixtures. The philosophy there is one I strive to live by...

When I'm ready for a night cap I heat up a large cup of whole milk. (Just enough for small bubbles around the edges--no fat rolling ones). Then I add four large tablespoons of MarieBelles Aztec Hot Chocolate to the pot. The ratio should be 2:1. Next I take my whisk and froth it up until it's nice and smooth. I usually like to plop in a homemade marshmallow from Whole Foods with a dash of cinnamon on top OR for a true night cap I add a couple of splashes of Peppermint Schnapps. 

It really helps if you have a pretty cup and saucer. 
Ah the pleasures of LIFE! 

Mariebelle Fine Chocolates NYC

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