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

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

Want more hot chocolate? You’ll find more recipes – including Spiced Hot Chocolate and Hot Chocolate with Salted Butter Caramel, as well as Homemade Marshmallows – in my book Drinking French!

Parisian Hot Chocolate

Use the best chocolate you can find for this amazing hot chocolate.
  • 2 cups (500ml) whole milk
  • 5 ounces (130g) bittersweet chocolate, (best-quality), finely chopped
  • optional: 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Once the milk is warm, remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted. For a thick hot chocolate, return to heat and cook at a very low boil for about 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. Be careful and keep an eye on the mixture, as it may boil up a bit during the first moments.
  • Taste, and add brown sugar if desired.
  • Serve warm in demitasse cups, or small coffee or tea 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.


    • Lil

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

    • Diva

    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!

    • Sarah Lou

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

    • Georgia

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

    • David

    Dear Judy (aka Diva):

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

    • Squeezeweasel

    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.

    • michele

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

    • Brett

    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 (:


    • Bake Recipes

    This reminds me of my time in France in Bordeaux.

    • Violet

    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)

    • Kathie

    FOUR servings? Surely you jest ;-)

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


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