Christmas chocolatada, a hot summer tradition

What would you think of a hot chocolate prepared with sweetened condensed milk, Brandy, heavy cream, butter, spices, and whipped cream? Tempting or too much? That was the very first recipe that I struggled to prepare when I first moved to Lima, only to surprise myself by almost dying. Even though it was delicious, it wasn’t a very wise choice for a Christmas breakfast, and to make things worse, I was expecting my first baby, so you can imagine the havoc it created in my sensitive pregnant body.

The recipe was given to me by a good friend –maybe she was not that good, after all- (just kidding!). And another lady I met, who was from Cusco, told me that her nanny used to make a very thick hot chocolate for her and her siblings, so thick that a spoon could stand in the beverage like in chocolate pudding. The last touch of her recipe was a generous teaspoon of butter! I was being introduced to the Christmas spirit and costumes of my new country, and finding many amazing things.

Hot chocolate has become a Christmas season tradition, and all over Peru there are gatherings called “chocolatadas”, where hot chocolate is served along with panetón (panettone) or some other goodies. No fruitcake or other heavy desserts. Maybe some little sandwiches and cookies.

When I was the director of one of the best cooking schools in Lima, on the last day of classes before Christmas break, we would have a lovely chocolatada with the students, talking and sharing experiences and funny stories. However, I sometimes wished I could have a big glass of iced water instead, because Lima is very hot at this time of the year; but despite the hot and steamy weather, everybody tries to keep this tradition alive drinking a good, thick hot chocolate.  In other parts of the country, where the weather is freezing cold almost year round, they can delight themselves with this comforting beverage almost every day. Here is the recipe to my favourite chocolate caliente (hot chocolate):

Hot chocolate
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • Hot chocolate (serves 4)
  • 4 oz chocolate de taza, or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 can unsweetened evaporated milk
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • 1 cup whipped cream (optional)
  1. To make the infusion, in a heavy saucepan bring the water to boil with the cinnamon and cloves, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the spices.
  2. Add the chopped chocolate, stirring until melted. Add evaporated milk, sugar to taste, nutmeg, and vanilla essence.
  3. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream if desired, and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or grated chocolate.
  4. Note: If you like a thicker chocolate stir in 1 teaspoon cornstarch diluted in 1 tablespoon water, before turning off the heat. If something lighter is preferred, add more hot water or regular milk.



  1. Wow! This sounds absolutely divine! Am I allowed to add a “piquetito” to this?

  2. Hot chocolate with real chocolate is vita! I love this during the holidays 🙂

  3. ufff this sounds amazing, a perfect combination that I would only allow to myself for christmas. yumi yumi delicious!

  4. OMG I love hubby, daughter and I make our hot cocoa drinking day a family affair/tradition… Thanks for sharing!

  5. Looks delish!!

  6. This sounds delicious! I must see if my friend knows how to make it (it is always nice when a native makes it- especially when she is an excellent cook), but if not I will have to try to make it myself.

    • I´m sure she knows how to make it. We use chocolate de taza, sold in Peru at this time of the year, but any chocolate will do, as long as it is good quality.

  7. This has the holidays written all over it!! thanks for sharing!!

  8. Wow. I’m really going to have to try this chocolate. It sound yummy and so soothing. I love whip cream and always add cinnamon to my hot chocolate. Adding the rest of the items to my shopping list!

  9. oh wow! YUM! I love hot chocolate… when am I invited to a hot coco “tea time?” LOL

  10. Qué delicia!!!!!!! Quiero una taza ya!

  11. Muy Bueno Cookbook says:

    Chocolatada, yes please. Perfect for this c-o-l-d weather.

  12. So decadent, rich and heart-warming! Could sip on some right now, only I’m out of Brandy! Maybe a 9-spice rum???

  13. Just back from Lima and craving all the good food already 🙁

    My mother prepares the hot chocolate thick. She blends some oats (it depends on how thick you want this to be, we use one cup for a 15 person pot) and boils with the cinnamon and cloves at the very beginning. The rest is the same. She “fishes” out the cinnamon and cloves and adds a shot of Anis to the pot for a dramatic end.

    It is the best hot chocolate I have ever tried.


    • Your mother’s recipe sounds amazing Jess. We will have to try it, for sure! Using oatmeal as a thickener is a great idea, and that extra kick from the Anis is sure to warm you up even more. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  1. […] panettone to the less fortunate in celebration of Christmas in Peru. The best part about it is that the recipe can be easily learned. […]

  2. […] recipes, such as this one, call for nutmeg, vanilla essence, cloves, and whipped cream for serving. Take a chance, and […]

  3. […] Panetone is a popular Christmas-time cake in Peru and as well as Christmas chocolatada, a hot chocolate prepared with sweetened condensed milk, brandy, heavy cream, butter, spices, and whipped cream. Try this Christmas chocolatada recipe. […]

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