For most of her life, Shari had proudly considered herself a chocoholic – regularly eating blocks of sweet stuff picked up from the supermarket. However, her journey from mass market chocolate consumption to chocolate expert started eight years ago when she attended an appreciation class and was presented with an array of chocolate brands she’d never heard of – and a taste experience she never knew chocolate could deliver.
With her eyes opened, she hasn’t looked back – nor eaten mass market chocolate since. Shari immersed herself in this world, learning everything there is to know about chocolate and even travelling to France and Italy in her chocolate pursuits. Today she runs her Melbourne based business, Fiamma Chocolate, dealing in the world’s best and selling the type of chocolate she had on that eventful day. However, if you ask Shari what she is most passionate about, she is clear – she loves to give other chocolate lovers the opportunity she had that day, to discover the world’s best chocolate, which she does through her video Master Class series, and monthly chocolate subscription boxes – sharing the love of great chocolate one person at a time.
Many of us escape the winter cold by heading to Europe for summer sun, but 2020 has put a stop to this. However, forget virtual holidays – because you can escape both the cold, and lockdown blues, by making the perfect European hot chocolate at home; the type you would find in Paris or Rome. Chocolate expert Shari Aubrey has shared her favourite recipe with us to sweeten up lockdown.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have a luxurious, decadent hot chocolate – the type you would experience in Paris (chocolat chaud) or Rome (cioccolato caldo). The big difference is this type of hot chocolate is made from real chocolate. Whilst it does take a little longer to make, Shari promises it is well worth the effort when you taste the difference. Plus, you have full control of the sweetness levels and you can add your favourite winter warming flavours.
There are two tricks to making the perfect European hot chocolate.
The first is to use the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on. The second is to gently heat on a stove top – not the microwave – where you can watch and adjust the heat, because neither chocolate nor milk are at their best when overheated.
What you’ll need:
- 200g chocolate 60-70% finely chopped (Shari loves Valrhona Guanaja 70%)
- 800ml full fat milk or your favourite non-dairy milk
- Optional: 2 teaspoons of muscovado sugar or other sweetener to taste (if you don’t like things so sweet, the sugar in the chocolate may be enough for you)
How to make:
- Gently heat the milk on the stove top until it is warmed through. Be careful not to bring it to a boil.
- Once your milk is warm, remove it from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted.
- Return the saucepan to the stovetop and heat gently for 3-5 minutes until you achieve your desired consistency. Continue to whisk as you heat.
- Add sugar or sweetener if using. Add in increments, tasting as you go, until you reach your preferred sweetness level.
- Add any other flavour options whilst continuing to whisk, see below for ideas.
- Sit back, relax, drink and imagine yourself in a Parisian cafe on a sunny day.
This recipe can be made in advance and kept in the fridge, which will also help it to thicken. Gently reheat to serve.
Additional Flavour Inspirations
- A few flakes of quality sea salt
- Vanilla seeds or a whole vanilla pod with seeds removed
- A few tablespoons of heavy cream
- A dash of cognac or whisky