Hot chocolate or hot cocoa. However you call it, it’s the perfect winter treat when you’re out and about, or when you’re having an evening in. It is a very hygge beverage in my humble opinion, so it’s only natural that it’s the next post in my 12 Days of Hygge. Including a recipe for for almond milk hot chocolate!
How I came to love hot chocolate
I used to be indifferent to this marvelous hot beverage. Likely because I’d only ever had it as the powdered version that gets mixed boiled water. But then I had an espresso-sized serving in Naples back in 2011. It was essentially just melted dark chocolate… and it was heaven. I asked the barrista if there was milk in it, and he said in his lovely Italian accent “No latte, signorina. No latte.”
Since then, hot chocolate has been my jam. Every now and then, I like to make it from scratch on the stove. And I add almond ‘latte’ to mine, as otherwise I would be incredibly hyper. Butt every time I make it, it makes me smile and think of that little cup of melted chocolate.
The first time I made my own hot cocoa, I was staying in a beautiful house by the beach on Salt Spring Island. It’s when I discovered that hot chocolate is actually quite simple to make on the stove. After a couple of years, I’ve finally found an ingredients combination that is exactly to my liking (and similar to my favourite Blenz almond milk dark hot chocolate!). Click here to jump to the recipe. (Psst! It’s vegan a.k.a. dairy-free.)
Making myself a hot chocolate obviously isn’t always possible, so when I am out and about, these are my Vancouver go-to’s for a tasty cocoa to-go (or enjoy in the cafe):
Blenz Coffee (Various Locations)
When I came back from my aforementioned trip to Naples I was obsessed with finding a good hot chocolate in Vancouver. It didn’t need to be solely melted dark chocolate, but it needed to have actual chocolate in it. I honestly wouldn’t have expected a chain to have my favourite hot chocolate, but Blenz does, indeed. And they are consistent. My extra almond milk dark hot chocolate is a mood balancer, treat, something to keep me warm, or all of the above. I also love that the baristas do a little bit of latte art to finish it of and that Blenz is a local chain.
Mink Hot Chocolate & Coffee
Mink’s hot chocolates are very gourmet, and very tasty. I loveit there because they have good variety of on the menu, as well as their own brand of chocolates (also available online for purchase). They aren’t in my immediate vicinity of home or work, so it’s always a nice treat to visit when I’m downtown.
Address: 863 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver (in the little courtyard on Howe Street)
Hot Chocolate Fest (Jan 20 Feb 14, 2018)
And if you really want to get your hot chocolate on in Vancouver, Hot Chocolate Fest is coming back in January! More details on participating merchants can be found here. I like to go to at least one new merchant shop every year to try their delicious creations!
If you want to inject a little hygge into your day, here is my dairy-free Almond Milk Hot Chocolate recipe!
Stove-Top Almond Milk Hot Chocolate
This is a slightly decadent treat for those winter nights where you want to just snuggle up to watch a movie or settle in with a good book.
- 3 cups almond milk
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp semisweet vegan chocolate chips
- Sweetener of choice (I use 2 tbsp of maple syrup or honey)
- 1 tsp vanilla, peppermint or almond extract (optional)
- Heat the almond milk in a small sauce pan on Medium-High heat for approximately 5 minutes
- When milk is hot and starting to steam, remove pan from heat
- Whisk in your cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sweetener, and optional extract
- Continue to whisk until the chocolate chips are fully melted, and everything looks frothy and smooth
- Pour into mugs and enjoy!
Serves 2 in large mugs or 4 in regular mugs. Cut recipe in half for 2 regular size mug servings.
I haven’t tried this recipe with dairy milk or coconut milk yet. But that’s an project for the Christmas holidays, so I can find an option that the Brit enjoys. The almond milk was met with some indifference. (But he tried the almond version, so I take that as a win!)
Like my tea, I take my hot chocolate without any frills. But cocoa does look a bit prettier and taste fabulous with a whipped cream. Have a look at these great almond milk options, or this coconut milk option from recipe maven, Angela Liddon!)
“Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a long time.”Henri Frederic Amiel