Every year before Christmas, I repost my Peruvian hot chocolate. It has hints of cinnamon and cloves and it’s always served with a slice of Panettone. There’s a funny story you might also enjoy in the post along with this recipe. My husband is the subject of this story which describes how we shared our first Christmas together and how he was introduced to my Peruvian side of the family.
Take a minute and read it if you want a good laugh. This is our second Christmas without him, but he is always in our hearts. Bill was truly a great man and I was honored to share 35 years with him. I will always remember and adore him. I hope he’s sharing this Christmas with his dad, my dad, and his friends - all of whom we lost in just a few years.
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 to 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 spices of 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. You have to understand, we didn't have Amazon back then so it's not something I could order online. Online shopping wasn't a "thing" yet.
Peruvian chocolate has hints of cloves and cinnamon so I grabbed my cocoa powder and spices and successfully created the flavor of Peruvian chocolate. Necessity is the mother of invention. Now I can have Peruvian hot chocolate whenever I want 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...
Bill, who my uncles called Bob just to bother him, filled up his plate like he hadn'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 afterward.
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 It was too late anyway. He sat down and smiled at everyone and took a big bite. You could see the expression on his face turn from a smile to confusion as if he was thinking, "What the heck is this?"
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. 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.
Try my homemade Italian Cream Liqueur - another perfect holiday treat.
¡Al Ataque! Merry Christmas...Feliz Navidad...Buon Natale!
Life is too short for mediocre food.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?
PERUVIAN HOT CHOCOLATEPRINT PIN SAVE
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ - ⅔ cup sugar - or to taste
- ¼ 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 a 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.
- ¡Al Ataque!
I don't post the nutritional value because I don't trust the accuracy of the nutritional apps. I’m not a nutritionist and don't want to post misinformation.
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