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Party Hot Chocolate - Makes a Gallon!

Victor Beguin, owner of La Bonne Table in Peterborough a café, catering facility
and cooking school – says that melting chunks of dark chocolate is the best and
most authentic way to make the drink, dating back to the Aztecs, who drank
their hot chocolate using only melted chocolate and cayenne pepper.  “People
who really love chocolate are missing out using (pre-mixed) … using a good
quality chocolate is the ultimate,” Beguin says.  

He recommends the Droste brand of Dutch chocolate for this recipe; however,
Lindt or Ghiradelli dark chocolate is also flavorful.  For a lower fat version, use
Droste cocoa.  Beguin also forgoes regular sugar for succanat, evaporated cane
juice crystals available in health food stores.  “It is not only healthier (than
white sugar), but it give the hot chocolate a beautiful caramel taste.”  Beguin
adds a pinch of salt to his hot chocolate “…it seems like a little thing to add,
but it really helps to bring out the flavor.”

Here’s a recipe to serve your party of winter guests:

1 gallon whole milk
1 cup chopped semi-sweet dark chocolate
1 cup succanat
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
1 pinch of salt
dash of cardamom or saffron

Heat milk (if using vanilla bean, add bean during the heating process) and
simmer.  Add chocolate pieces and succanat and whisk to blend.  Check for
taste and add more sugar or chocolate if desired.  Add salt, and cardamom or
saffron.  Remove vanilla bean before serving.  (If using vanilla extract, add
before serving).

makes 1 ½ cups
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