My Peruvian Hot Chocolate is rich and creamy with hints of cinnamon and cloves. Traditionally served with a slice of Panettone. Funny story included!
Peruvian Hot Chocolate is the one thing at Christmas that we have never gone without. This is a big deal in my family. First, we prepare a huge, delicious feast with various dishes. We spend the day cooking followed by a nap because Peruvian tradition is celebrating at midnight. Around 6 o’clock, the table is set, appetizers are prepared, and then we welcome all family and friends who share the celebration with us.
After the meal, my Mom and my Tía Renee start to make Peruvian hot chocolate. It’s the same routine every single year. Tía Renee breaks up the chocolate she brought from Peru. It’s a delicious chocolate enhanced with cinnamon and cloves. The preparation brings back wonderful memories of the only Christmas we celebrated in Peru with my grandmother, Mama Maria, and my great-grandmother, Mama Manuela.
During the preparation of the Peruvian Hot Chocolate, the same routine plays out every year…
Mom: “Renee, taste this. What does it need? More milk? More sugar?”
Tía Renee: “More sugar.”
Mom: “I think it needs more milk not sugar.”
Tía Renee: “Well if you aren’t going to listen to me then why do you ask me?
Mom: “You like everything too sweet.”
Tía Renee: “Nooooo, you just don’t know how it is supposed to be.”
Mom: “Natalie! Come here and tell me what this needs. Tía Renee says more sugar but she always says that because she likes everything too sweet.”
After it’s perfected, the pot is brought to the table along with sliced Panettone. Everyone serves themselves a ladle of hot chocolate and grabs a piece of that delicious Italian sweet bread. I always wondered why my Mom and aunt Renee didn’t write the recipe down so it would come out the same without any argument.
Whenever someone new came to my Mom’s annual Christmas Eve open house, they would try the hot chocolate and say “Wow! This is so delicious!” Then both my Mom and Tía Renee would smile taking credit. I love how the family is so competitive with cooking.
I was craving hot chocolate one night but I didn’t have any of the special Peruvian chocolate that Tía Renee brings from Peru. Peruvian chocolate has hints of cloves and cinnamon so I grabbed my cocoa powder and spices and successfully created the flavor of the chocolate blocks from Peru. Necessity is the mother of invention. Now I can have Peruvian hot chocolate without the Peruvian chocolate and you can too.
When my husband Bill and I were first going out, we spent our first Christmas Eve together as a couple at my Mom’s open house. My whole family was there. The men in my family are a bunch of jokers and can be quite intimidating. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice and all, but if you’re new coming into the family, you will have to go through an initiation of sorts. I knew they were thinking of something to say to this blond, Scottish, French Canadian, and other bloodlines I keep forgetting.
Bill made it too easy for them…
Picture this: a table FULL of delicious food. There were mashed potatoes, roast beef, gravy, saltado, rice, and other delicious dishes. Bill, who my uncles called Bob just to bother him, filled up his plate like he hasn’t eaten in a week. I was a little embarrassed at his glutenous nature. This particular Christmas Eve, my Mom decided to put the hot chocolate out along with the food instead of afterwards.
Everyone watched as Bill filled up his plate. He was oohing and ahhing at the food. Then he grabbed the ladle in the big bowl of the Peruvian hot chocolate and carefully poured it all over his food – obviously thinking it was gravy. I almost DIED. Everyone got quiet and watched him. No one said a thing and I t was too late anyways. He sat down and smiled at everyone and took a big bite. You could see the expression of his face turn from a smile to confusion as if he was thinking ‘what the heck is this?‘ Still, no one said anything. At this point Bill knew what he had done but didn’t want anyone to notice. Of course, we all saw it happening.
Tío Joe: “Hey Bob, how’s that gravy?”
Bill: “It’s Bill. Ummm good.”
Tío Victor: “Hey Bob, you like?”
Bill: “Yes, very good.”
Me, thinking…”What a dope.“
My sweet grandmother, Mama Maria: “¿Que está haciendo este tonto? ¿No se da cuenta que hechó chocolate caliente en su comida?”
Translation: “What is this fool doing? Doesn’t he realize he poured hot chocolate on top of his food?”
My Dad – the English, Irish, Scottish, Frenchman – just stood there shaking his head because he felt bad for poor Bob – I mean Bill.
My gosh! I am dying laughing as I write this. Sometimes my Tío Joe still calls him Bob!
To this day, 30 years later, every Christmas Eve when we’re at Mom’s open house and Bill fills his plate with food, everyone still asks if he wants to pour hot chocolate over his food. Silly Bob.
Try this hot chocolate and think of this story. I hope they both put a smile on your face!
Peruvian hot chocolate is traditionally served without a topping needing nothing except a slice of Panettone.
¡Al Ataque! Merry Christmas…Feliz Navidad…Buon Natale
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup sugar - or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2” stick
- 3 cups water
- 2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
Whisk dry ingredients together in medium saucepan then slowly whisk in water.
Place saucepan over medium high heat and continue to whisk until cocoa and sugar are dissolved.
Bring to a soft boil.
Slowly whisk in milk and reheat gently.
Serve hot with a slice of Panettone.
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