Maurice Alexander | Thu, 13 Feb 2020
This floral beverage is a bouquet of roses contained within a single cup. Along with the classical act of giving roses to one’s Valentine, invite them round to enjoy this fun gastronomic rendition of the gesture; a wonderful opportunity to impress them with a demonstration of your culinary expertise. Simple and light, this recipe is more similar to heated chocolate milk than the irresistibly thick, traditional French ‘chocolat chaud’, which is more for dipping toasted baguette into than the drinking chocolate we are familiar with. However, the lightness of the drink should be welcomed, especially considering all the other chocolate treats we will all hopefully be receiving during this celebration of love and romance.
Ingredients - Serves 2
6 to 8 squares of 70% cocoa-content chocolate
500ml whole milk
Rosewater to taste
Rosewater is a perfumed elixir synthesized by the alchemy of steam distillation of fragrant rose petals soaked in purified water. Think of it like rose extract, comparable to common vanilla or orange extracts. Highly potent in both taste and scent, it is to be used sparingly by the drop. I always invest in the highest quality ingredients to fully exercise the pleasures culinary duties have to offer, which is why I recommend Nielsen-Mattey’s, ‘Rosewater’. Brightly labelled in hot pink, the glass vial holds 118ml of liquid roses and can be found online, at supermarkets and at specialist shops for a reasonable price. Do not be put off buying due to the volume, as it permits you to make a year’s worth of enrosened dishes.
Measure out 500ml of whole milk and place into the microwave on a medium heat for two minutes to warm it through. The milk must be warm, as cold milk will cause the chocolate to seize up. In a small saucepan, finely grate in the squares of dark chocolate and warm gently on a very low heat.
Carpeting the bottom of the saucepan, the chocolate will melt in a few seconds, at which point you increase the heat slightly and gradually add the warm milk and you whisk continuously. Do not attempt to heat the milk in the saucepan and then add the grated chocolate from a plate, bowl or chopping board, because the fine shavings will become a mist if a draught were to pass over them.
When all the milk is added, the mixture should be a pale emulsion with no chocolate sediment. At this point, increase the heat whilst whisking until the contents of the saucepan are steaming. Do not allow it to boil or else a film of milk fat will form on the liquid’s surface and spoil the drinking experience. If this does happen, pass the mixture through a fine strainer to catch and remove it.
At this point, the rosewater can be added according to your own personal taste. To those newly introduced to this botanic delight, I would recommend adding a drop at a time, stirring, and tasting with a teaspoon until the taste of the milk-chocolate mixture is pleasing to you. The flavour profile you are attempting to achieve should be a chocolate sweetness at the beginning, followed by a richness provided from the milk before finishing with a lingering rose flavour. An indicator that you have used just slightly over the optimum amount is that the rose flavour at the end has a metallic hint to it and excessive rosewater instils a dominant perfume flavour to the hot chocolate. Either scenario can be resolved by adding more warmed milk and chocolate shavings.
Divide the contents of the saucepan between two cups and serve.