“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”
― Joanne Harris, Chocolat
‘Hot Chocolate, please.’ She sat down uncomfortably at the counter, speaking down into the empty glasses I had not yet had time to clear.
‘Of course.’ I did not ask her how she liked her drink but brought it to her with chocolate curls and Chantilly, decorated with two coffee creams at the side. For a moment she looked at the glass with narrowed eyes, then touched it tentatively.
The first book that I picked this year is also something that I crave for, almost every day. Joanne Harris’s Chocolat is as dark as a glass of pure dark hot chocolate. Vivian Rocher threatens the power of the church with her chocolate boutique in a French village when she opens it on the first day of lent. The priest declares war but people warm up to her truffles, chocolate espresso and the sense of freedom she brings with them. She pours glasses of hot chocolate to make friends, to liberate people and to give them pure joy.
Vivian has a knack for knowing the kind of chocolate her guests would love. She adds Chantilly for Josephine and Kahlua in Mocha for Armande. When I imagined her making a glass of hot chocolate for me, I thought of cinnamon and dark rum. So here it is, my own version of Vivian’s hot chocolate.
Yields – Two Glasses
Milk – 1 glass
Water – 1 glass
Good quality dark chocolate – 50-100 gms (chopped)
Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
Cornflour – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder – ½ tsp
Salt – a pinch
Sugar – 2 tsp
Old Monk or any dark rum of your choice – 60 ml
• Mix cocoa powder, cornflour, cinnamon and salt with a little water (about 2 tbsp)
• Heat milk and water and stir in dark chocolate and sugar.
• Add the cocoa and cornflour mix and let it boil till the liquid thickens.
• Pour the hot chocolate in two glasses, top each with 30 ml of rum; grab a book and let the drink slowly burn your throat on its way down.
Cooking and Styling – Shirin Mehrotra
Photography – Aparna Kapoor
Read more about project The Literary Kitchen