Hot chocolate is a Christmas season tradition all over Peru. There are gatherings called “chocolatadas”, where hot chocolate is served along with thick panetón (panettone) slices or some other goodies. No fruitcake or other heavy desserts. Maybe some little sandwiches and cookies.
Peruvians love their hot chocolate even though the weather is warm and sunny in December in most of the country. The weather doesn’t stop us from having our delicious chocolate drink…and even better if it has some whipped cream on top or some melted marshmallows in it. When it comes to the holidays, traditions rule and this is one that we embrace and love.
Here is the recipe I like to make.
- 3 cups water
- 4 cloves
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 4 oz chocolate de taza, or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 can unsweetened evaporated milk
- Sugar to taste
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- 1 cup whipped cream or marshmallows (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes, in a saucepan with the cinnamon and cloves. Discard the spices.
- Add the chopped chocolate, stirring until melted.
- Add evaporated milk, sugar to taste, nutmeg, and vanilla essence.
- Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream if desired or with some marshmallows, and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or grated chocolate.
- Note: If you like a thicker hot chocolate stir in 1 teaspoon cornstarch diluted in 1 tablespoon water, stirring until slightly thickened. If something lighter is preferred, add more hot water or regular milk.