Have you ever wondered why different luxury hot chocolates can have such varied tastes and textures?
In order to understand what makes a truly luxurious hot chocolate just SO delicious with a wonderful silky smooth texture, there are a few things happening in the way hot chocolate is made that you need to know.
1- The choice of the cacao bean
2- The hot chocolate production process
3- The other Ingredients used in my luxury hot chocolate
1- The Cacao Bean: Medellin Trinitario, Single Estate, Bursting with honey and fruits, non acidic.
I have travelled the world sourcing the finest single estate cacao beans that exist on this planet. Few things bring me more joy than discovering great cacao beans with their own unique and colourful characteristics and flavour profiles. Once I’ve found them, I then get to decide what their most delicious purpose will be!
Some are great for pairing with fruits, others are just so alive and full of dancing flavours that they’re at their best standing alone, others are wonderfully round and soft and work in all kinds of ways with different aspects, singing to new tunes when matched with new and interesting flavours that haven’t been tried before.
When I discovered this beautiful Medellin Trinitario bean in Colombia I knew instantly it was destined for great things! It’s absolutely perfect for my luxury hot chocolate because it is non-acidic and bursting with flavour. The gentle honey fruity notes playfully dance together and are perfectly balanced against the creaminess provided by the cocoa butter and (if you choose to use it) milk too.
2- The Process – How I Make My Luxury Hot Chocolate
Making my luxury hot chocolate is a very lengthy process. Yet getting to enjoy such full-bodied, silky, luxurious hot chocolate and share it with fellow chocolate lovers like you, makes the extra effort worth every single second!
To make cocoa powder you need to remove some of the cocoa butter that makes up approx. 50% of the cacao nibs. I choose to leave in around 25% of the cocoa butter, this helps to give my luxury hot chocolate such a wonderful silky smooth texture. Retaining this much cocoa butter also means that my Luxury Hot Chocolate is 100% vegan, adding milk powder isn’t necessary.
To remove the cocoa butter I use this pair of magnificent 20Th Century cocoa butter presses.
– First of all, I make the chocolate exactly as I do for the bars.
– Then, using my presses I squeeze 75% of the cocoa butter out of the conched cacao liquor.
– This pressing process leaves a cake that then has to be milled into a powder and mixed with raw cane sugar to make my Medellin Luxury Hot Chocolate.
This is very different to the industrial process that most of the hot chocolate you’ll see has been made using, including many labelled as ‘luxury’. The most commonly used commercial process is called ‘Dutching’ whereby the cacao is washed in an alkaline solution to neutralise their acidity. I rely on the lengthier, but far superior method of conching my liquor to remove the unwanted flavours. You can learn more about conching here. None of the wonderful flavours are lost and everything fantastic is retained.
3- The Other Ingredients Used in My Luxury Hot Chocolate
Well this one is simple, I add nothing else but the best raw cane sugar from Barbados. No emulsifiers, enhancers, thickeners, creamers, powders or sweeteners. Nothing else at all! Also… I use 52% cacao powder, whereas most hot chocolates have around 20%, and those branded as luxury usually fall around 30%.
So, there it is! Why is my Luxury Hot Chocolate so incredibly delicious? Because as with everything I make it all comes down to knowing that purity, naturalness, the finest single estate beans and a whole lot of love are what’s needed to make the best chocolate in the world!