What is it about the cold weather that makes me drink hot chocolate? I don’t think of myself as particularly liking hot chocolate.
Sure, I can remember some times when I’ve ordered it at restaurants in the last few years:
One afternoon, not long ago, I enjoyed hot chocolate at a café that serves it on a tray in a little warm ceramic pot alongside a heavy cup and saucer, with thick whipped cream and chocolate shavings. At a late breakfast in Rome, where typically I would have ordered a cappuccino but could not have the caffeine in the coffee, I drank a very thick hot chocolate, rich like a melted chocolate bar that had had cream stirred in it. And in a local coffee shop that offers simple hot chocolate in a tall paper cup, I lingered over the warm drink while visiting with a friend and eating ginger cookies.
But in these bleak January days we are in a deep freeze and I find myself reaching for hot chocolate and tea more often than usual. It must be the cold, because really, I don’t feel that I want either warm drink; it’s only that I want to feel warm.
So, to enjoy the cups of hot chocolate I seem to be having, I add warm frothed milk, as if it were a cappuccino. Or some cinnamon and nutmeg to the cocoa/brown sugar/milk paste before I add the warmed water and milk. And maybe some orange zest, or a stir with a candy cane stick, if there are any leftover from the holidays.
But I’m still just going through the motions of having a hot beverage.