Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe: Le Chocolat Chaud

When the winter chill comes to Paris, one of the great pleasures is sipping a cup of rich hot chocolate, le chocolat chaud, in a cozy café. But no matter where you live, you can easily make and enjoy the chocolatey taste of Paris at home.

Contrary to popular belief, Parisian hot chocolate is often made with milk rather than cream, and get its luxurious richness from lots of top-quality chocolate. This cup of chocolat chaud is deeply-flavorful, but not over-the-top rich…so there’s no need to feel guilty indulging in a nice, warm cup whenever – and wherever – you feel the need.

Parisian Hot Chocolate

Four ‘Parisian-sized’ Servings

  • 2 cups (.5l) whole milk
  • 5 ounces (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, (best-quality), finely chopped
  • optional: 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan.

2. Once the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. For a thick hot chocolate, cook at a very low boil for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Be careful and keep an eye on the mixture, as it may boil up a bit during the first moments.

3. Taste, and add brown sugar if desired.

Serve warm in small demitasse or coffee cups.

Note: This hot chocolate improves if made ahead and allowed to sit for a few hours. Rewarm before serving. I also like to add a few flecks of fleur de sel, the very good sea salt from Brittany.

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  • Alisa
    November 15, 2005 4:24am

    I love that spoon!

  • November 15, 2005 4:44am

    fleur de sel in hot chocolate? curious… very curious…

  • November 15, 2005 3:54pm

    I am so there!
    the temps just dropped in Florence so my next stop is Vestri!!!

    Leonardo is eye candy..and I get his cioccolato caldo with peperoncino.. chili powder!!
    Go Leonardo!

  • November 15, 2005 9:55pm

    What a perfect recipe to pair with our first snowfall here in Quebec.

  • November 16, 2005 1:29am

    Yum! I hate that American cafes never know how to make good drinking chocolate.

  • November 16, 2005 3:30am

    Dear Judy (aka Diva):

    I can’t seem to find a recipe for ‘eye candy’…you’d better send a photo!

  • November 16, 2005 11:21am

    Do you have any thoughts on the Chocolat Africain at Angélina? If you can fight your way through all the tourists, it’s probably my favourite Parisian hot chocolate (beating Ladurée’s chocolat chaud into a close second). I do like drinks that they have to serve a glass of water with in case you pass out from the gloppy, silky richness of it all.

  • November 17, 2005 10:03am

    Yum. I’d like a litre please. Salted if I may. Do you deliver?

  • November 18, 2005 1:04pm

    Thank you, David! I made some of this incredibly thick and rich Parisian hot chocolate last night with some Scharffen Berger chocolate and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. The pinch of fleur de sel really transformed the chocolate, taking it to another level. Tanscendent.

  • Melissa (:
    November 19, 2005 12:31am


  • Bake Recipes
    August 12, 2009 11:22pm

    This reminds me of my time in France in Bordeaux.

  • April 16, 2010 1:51am

    David, Duuuude! ~ have you ever tried putting a little cardamon in your wonderful Parisian Hot Chocolate?? MMMMMMM ~ you should! Leave out the brown sugar mate (chocolate is ‘bittersweet enough’ – I use Lindt) and just try that and see what you think.

    I have really enjoyed trolling through Paris on your blog and will be back for more.

    Violet (Australia)

  • December 12, 2010 12:21am

    FOUR servings? Surely you jest ;-)

    Have you considered adding a few drops of pure vanilla extract?