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Chocolat Chaud (Hot Chocolate)

Hot chocolate

The secret to David Lebovitz’s Parisian-style hot chocolate is whole milk and plenty of high-quality dark chocolate. The optional addition of raw or brown sugar lends a wonderful toasty toffee flavor. Mr. Lebovitz recommends making the drink a day or two in advance and storing it in the refrigerator, then rewarming it: The drink gets thicker the longer it sits. Serve it in small tea cups, the way the French do, as this intense hot chocolate packs a punch. To give the hot chocolate a nice frothy texture, zap it with an immersion blender for a few seconds before pouring it into your cup—a technique recommended by both chocolate/cacao scholar Maricel Presilla and Wonderbon Chocolate Co. co-owner Maury Rubin. It’s a worthwhile extra step that gives the drink a light, airy mouthfeel, and it works well with packaged cocoas, too.


– 2 cups whole milk or neutral plant-based milk, such as Oatly Barista Edition
– 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
– 1-2 tablespoons raw or light brown sugar (optional)
– Whipped cream or marshmallows, for garnish (optional)


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm milk and chocolate, whisking occasionally until chocolate is melted.
Bring mixture almost to a boil, paying close attention. (If it comes to a full boil, it will quickly boil over.) Reduce heat to lowest setting and gently simmer hot chocolate, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
When chocolate is cool enough to sip, add sugar to taste, if using. To serve, pour hot chocolate into cups and top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if using.

—Adapted from “Drinking French” by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press) as published in WSJ.

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