Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jen's Nog

Alright, this post isn't actually about eggnog.  I just reeeally wanted to use this title.  (for obvious reasons, and if it's not obvious, who are you? why are we even friends?? Do you not know me at all??) and let's face it, I don't have much else to say about eggnog, other than all this week I've been giving Julian "Christmas milk" every morning with breakfast, which sounds totally sketchy.  Or delicious.  You decide. 

No, actually it's about hot chocolate and how I've experienced an evolution.  I grew up my whole young life drinking hot chocolate mixes.  Want some hot chocolate? Sure, let's bust open the mix.  Swiss Miss, Nestle something or other, then Stephen's "Gourmet." And then later, Ghirardelli, or this and that brand, etc.   And then came that fateful day when I had the first best hot chocolate, perhaps the first proper hot chocolate i've ever had, and you can read about it here or you can just keep reading.  Basically it was at our favorite across-the-street restaurant, a little french bistro and they gave me unsweetened hot chocolate made with cream and valrhona chocolate.  For those of you who don't know, valrhona is exceptional chocolate.  I read a book about how to be a Chocolatier and this was included in a list of mostly unrecognized kinds of chocolate.  I highly recommend you get your hands on some, but save up first.

Anyway, in short, it changed my life.  It told me a story of a hot chocolate i never knew i'd been searching for all of my life.  And it came to a happy and most enlightening ever after.   Since then, Sean and I have abandoned the hot chocolate mixes and if we feel in the mood, make it ourselves.  I know, what?!  And it's so, so, SO much better.  So much better that I included 3 so's.   It's gigantic leaps and bounds better.  And i can add more chocolate to make it darker and less sweet. I have complete control over my chocolate percentage and sugar content.  For the first time, I feel like a real chemist, and it feels so good.  I even have some valrhona baking chocolate i can use but i prefer to ration that for the baking.  But we just melt bars.  It's wonderful, truly.  Try it.  Throw out your mixes.  Experiment with your chocolate bars and whatever milk that's in your fridge.  Say goodbye to water in your hot chocolate forever and ever.  Stir it all on the stove.  Measure and balance it as you wish.  It's empowering, liberating, and I'll never go back. No, not ever.

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