Winter 2016

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20 BCA A .COM WINTER 2016 iStock Thick, rich and lightly sweetened – those are the hallmarks of gourmet hot chocolate, says Jorden Marshall, BCAA Member and co-owner of artisan chocolaterie Hot Chocolates. The shop has been serving cupfuls of steamy goodness from its location on Fifth Street in downtown Courtenay, BC, for 30 years. Marshall stops short of sharing his secret recipe, but offers these tips for re-creating the ultimate indulgence at home: 1. Skip the powdered cocoa. It has a grainy texture you can't completely eliminate. Instead, melt high-quality dark bar chocolate that consists of 50 per cent or more cocoa. You'll need around half a bar per cup (30–35 grams). 2. Use heavy cream. You want the kind you buy for whipping. Blend it with warm – or better yet, steamed and frothed – milk in a proportion of one-quarter to one-half cream. Or, be brave and try it with all cream. If you go that route, says Marshall, "lightly double-boil it so it doesn't scald and serve it in an espresso cup." Decadent? Absolutely. But this is a special-occasion treat to savour, not an everyday beverage. 3. Don't over-sweeten. Between the chocolate and the dairy, you shouldn't need additional sugar. If you must, serve with a dollop of whipped cream instead. Alternatively, add flavour with another ingredient, like cinnamon or chili peppers (Marshall recommends guajillo or ancho for an authentic Mexican taste). 4. Create a ritual. Serve your creation in a favourite mug, topped off with a little shaved chocolate. Or, take it to go in a Thermos: just because it's gourmet, doesn't mean you can't bring it along to the mountain, rink or local holiday parade. Staying warm outside with a cup of the sweet stuff is a Canadian tradition, after all. –Kirsten Rodenhizer MEMBERS SAVE No time to prepare your own? Blenz hot chocolate is made with real Belgian chocolate. BCAA Members get a free beverage upsize, and a 10% discount on food items, at Blenz Coffee. bcaa.com/blenz TRAVEL ski-free fun SECRETS OF THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE

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