Nov 22

Let’s talk hot chocolate equipment

in Uncategorized

I was able to attend the Salon du Chocolat (a expo on all things chocolate) while living in Paris about 8 years ago. One of the things that caught my attention was a peculiar looking pot. I learned that this pot was une chocolatière–a special chocolate pot designed by the French in the 17th century to keep hot chocolate frothy and to keep any savory sediment from settling. The pot had a hole in the top with a stick sticking out. I learned that this stick was called a moussoir and functions like a swizzle stick to whip up the chocolate by being twirled rapidly between the palms of the hands.

As I prepared to spend this week bathing in hot chocolate I did some research on these special chocolate pots, curious to know if they had survived or if they were a thing of the past. I did manage to find a reproduction of a simple Louis XVIII style chocolate pot, which will set you back a mere $159.95 (US) plus shipping and handling (cough!). I then stumbled upon a couple of modern versions which make the spinning of the moussoir even easier. One is made by LaCafetiere and the other by Bodum. Curious, I contacted Bodum and they kindly agreed to send me a pot to try out.
The design of Bodum’s chocolatière is almost identical to the versions used back in the 17th century, except for instead of the pot being made of silver or porcelain, it is made of microwaveable glass and the moussoir has been redesigned so that instead of having to twirl it rapidly between the palms of your hands, you can push it down and pull it up which makes a propeller inside the pot spin rapidly around. The glass enables you to see what is happening inside the pot and the redesigned moussoir takes considerably less energy to get the job done. Normally when I mix/froth my hot chocolate I use my immersion blender or my $1.99 IKEA milk frother, so I was very curious to see how this pot would differ.
I followed the directions and put some dark chocolate that I had chopped up into tiny bits into the pot (about 5 ounces) and then filled it up to a mark on the pot with hot milk. I put the lid back on and then pushed and pulled on the knob of the swizzle stick. This rapidly mixed the chocolate and milk together and soon I had a perfectly blended and frothy pot of hot chocolate.
Just like the chocolatières of times past, the hot chocolate was easy to remix and froth if the chocolate began to separate and settle at the bottom of the pot. Although it is just as easy for me to pull out my immersion blender as it would be for me to brew my hot chocolate in a chocolatière, I did appreciate that there was no splatter (like I often get with my immersion blender because I’m not paying close attention–oops!) and it was easy as all of the mess was in one pot and it was easy to pour from the pot straight into my cup.
If anything this would make the perfect gift for a chocoholic. I’m definitely sad to see this one go back to Bodum, but Christmas is right around the corner (Mr. Fuji, are you reading this?) . . . .

What do you like to drink your hot chocolate out of? While living in France I fell in love with drinking mine out of a bowl–I LOVE these latte bowls by Anthropologie.
On a trip to Singapore this past March I fell in love with Max Brenner’s Hug Mug and am kicking myself for not buying one while I was there. (Mr. Fuji–another Christmas gift idea!)

Do you have any other hot chocolate paraphernalia that you like to use?

Meg left me a comment on a previous post saying

I love hot cocoa!

Can you do a special on non-dairy versions? That would be lovely!

Meg, the hot cocoa recipe in that post is actually fabulous when made with soy milk! I actually drink quite a bit of soy milk because I can’t drink regular American cows milk because of some of the hormones that are used in our style of dairy farming. (I can drink organic milk with no problems. Go figure. I can drink milk to my hearts content in other countries though. Sigh.) The same holds true for the concept in the Ladurée recipe. You can chop up your favorite lactose free chocolate, pour steaming soy milk over it, and mix! Depending on how dark the chocolate is that you use (and depending on your tastes) you may have to add a bit of sugar.

* Thanks to Bodum for their help in enabling the hands on portion of my research.

Coming Tomorrow: Stuff yourself silly on stuffed squash.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

K and S November 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I use a wire whisk to froth, but do have a similar looking pot. I also have a battery powered frother, will try this the next time I make hot chocolate :)


Bob November 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I don’t have any paraphernalia for making hot chocolate, I don’t make it any near near as much as I should. Of course it might be more than I should, since I never use lowfat milk… :)

I think I’m going to look into getting one of those pots for my girlfriend for Xmas. She loves hot chocolate.


tamakikat November 22, 2008 at 8:09 pm

When I read the title to this post the word ‘Equipment’ popped out at me and I thought ‘This girl is SERIOUS when it comes to drinking chocolate’. That and the talk of milk frother splatters made me chuckle.

I wonder what sweet words you used to get Bodum to send you the chocolatière…:)

Have you already tried drinking from a ‘hug mug’ and loved it not just for its design? I haven’t tried one but when I looked at the picture of one I thought it would be a recipe for disaster in my hands-like hot chocolate all down my front. Not good as we all know where hot chocolate should go:)

Also do you think soy milk makes hot cocoa/chocolate even better than when you use (organic) milk? I think they taste different but I remember the first time I tried cocoa with hot milk and it was surprisingly extra go-od and I thought I should use soy milk more often and I now do:)



tamakikat November 22, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Oops! Meant to say ‘…I remember the first time I tried cocoa with hot SOY milk and it was surprisingly extra go-od….’



Coffee and Vanilla November 23, 2008 at 3:57 am

Sounds great… I have the same milk frother from Ikea and I use it often to make fluffy milk for children or sometimes for cappuccino ;)
Must look for this chocolatier thing and give it a try…
Thank you for sharing this, Margot


laline November 23, 2008 at 6:42 am

i love ladurée chocolate
every winter i go there and drink a cup of this wonderful chocolate and pastries
that what i love working in paris after a long day of work i can go and ead eat a hot chocolat and macarons


Lauren November 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the equipment tips – I’ve always wanted to take hot chocolate to the next level – you’ve inspired me to try!


מפל שוקולד November 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm

great post!


Hillary November 24, 2008 at 9:56 am

I’ve heard of hot chocolate machines that take just as much effort as using a saucepan but this one seems different, and very cool! (I love the latte bowls from Anthropologie too :)).


[email protected]: a food blog November 24, 2008 at 10:52 am

I love the idea of that hug mug too! Keeping hands warm in the colder months is tough around here. My sister gave me this chocolate pot from Ashton Green last Christmas. It’s wonderful too.


Meg November 24, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for the tip, Fuji Mama! I too can eat diary in another country, but not here. All those hormones just kill me.
I will be making a trip to the store for some recommended chocolate and soymilk.
Also a trip to the Bodum site. I love the look of their products and not being a coffee drinker, haven’t had much of a need for anything I see. Now I do! Plus it will be a nice Christmas gift for a friend. :)


flutterbyblue December 1, 2008 at 8:44 pm

I got one of these for Christmas last year – I absolutely love it!!!


Al Dente October 24, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Thanks. This was really informative. I'm opening up a boutique cupcake shop in Denver and looking for fun ways to serve hot chocolate. This would be a perfect way to add to the "boutique" experience in the shop. Thanks!


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