Some recipes I make over and over again, and some I don’t. I’m not sure why, but once a recipe becomes part of my repertoire, I tend to be loyal and stick with it. However, as a diversion from my usual Parisian hot chocolate recipe, I often revisit this one, which I learned to make in Belgium. And every time I do, I remember how good it is!
I made this hot chocolate recipe when I did an internship at Wittamer, one of the best chocolate shops in Brussels. And let me tell you, there’s plenty of competition in that chocolate-centric city.
The head chocolatier, Michael Lewis gave me this recipe, which they serve in their chic tea salon overlooking the place Sablon. This recipe is simple enough to make any time you’re looking for a hot chocolate fix. Which for me, is often – especially in the winter.
Unlike other hot chocolates, this one uses a few squares of milk chocolate, and you should seek out a good-quality one. Most of the better milk chocolates list their percentage of cacao on the label (often between 30-35%) and taste better than the bars sold next to the supermarket check-out aisles, which are basically candy, not chocolate.
I included this recipe in The Great Book of Chocolate, where there’s also a story about my time working at Wittamer, dipping chocolates all day, then wrapping things in lovely bows for sale in the chic boutique. I was also fortunate enough to sample (i.e.; sneak in as many as I could, when no one was looking) most of their rich, creamy chocolates: one bite and it’s a no-brainer to see why Wittamer is “the” classic Belgian chocolate. This hot chocolate? It’s no slouch either.
Belgian Hot Chocolate
- 1 quart (1l) half-and-half or whole milk
- 8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate, chopped
- tiny pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped dark and milk chocolates, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
- Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk as well as the salt and cinnamon, heating until the mixture is warmed through.
- Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, to mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. (Do not use a standard blender as blending hot liquid can result in the lid coming off while blending.) While the chocolate is ready to serve now, if you let it sit for a few hours, it'll get richer and thicker the longer it sits.