Along with the changing of the leaves comes many gatherings and special events of all shapes and sizes. As we all know, spending time with those close to you while the weather outside remains cold, wet and windy is a wonderful way to make it through the coming season. Pairing good company with hot drinks is the perfect way to keep that warm feeling going throughout fall and winter, both metaphorically and literally. With bellies full of delicious spiced cocoa your guests will feel content and happy. Hot cocoa is the perfect backdrop for a festive cocktail enhanced with any liqueur such as amaretto, Grand Marnier, peppermint schnapps, or Chambord. You get the idea. I have also included some ideas for those of you that can’t have dairy products, I hope you find them useful. Cheers!
Cinnamon Hot Cocoa
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips (Any chips will work, Dairy free chips included)
1/4 cup white sugar
5 cups whole milk (sub soy milk for dairy free)
1/2 cup heavy cream (sub vegan creamer for dairy free)
1 cup hot water
1 oz Frangelico
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a sauce pan with a thick bottom, bring water up to a simmer. Add cocoa powder and sugar. Cook at a simmer for 1-2 minutes or until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Reduce heat to low and add the milk, cream and vanilla and heat thoroughly while stirring. Do not allow it to simmer. Add in your chocolate chips a few at a time, stirring constantly.
Once everything is melted and smooth allow mixture to cool for about 2 minutes then add your liquor. This would be a good time to separate the non-alcoholic portions if desired. Garnish with whipped cream chocolate shavings and a cinnamon stick (optional). Serve hot.
Here are some wonderfully chocolaty events available here on Brown Paper Tickets!
Fridays October 11 through Thursday, December 27 I Chocolate Crazy Dinner Tour – New York, New York Welcome chocolate lovers to the all-chocolate dinner tour. Chocolate will be the main headliner in four fabulous dishes, combined with other mouth-watering foods for unforgettable taste sensations. The tour will begin with the decadent Chocolate Pizza, a thin crust dough covered with warm chocolate and topped with toasted marshmallows. The second stop is a top rated dessert shop known for their delectable Triple Chocolate Cupcake, made with Valrhona chocolate, chocolate buttercream frosting covered in chocolate ganache. Next up are delicious double-cooked Belgium fries, crunchy on the outside, and soft in the center, with the perfect dipping companion, Nutella. The final dish is called Dark Chocolate Dreams, where chocolate meets gourmet, hand-made peanut butter on a sandwich.
Saturday October 12 I Chocolate 101 with Dandelion Chocolate – San Francisco, California Dandelion Chocolate’s talented chocolate will help you learn how to grind cocoa beans on a traditional Meso-American metate, and combine ingredients to make the perfect chocolate concoction. You will have a chance to purchase some of Dandelions superb artisan chocolate. The class will conclude with a tour of the Meso American Cloud forest focusing on how indigenous peoples used this resource, and why cloud forests are so essential in their natural environments.
Tuesday, October 15 I Chocolate Tasting Party – Puyallup, Washington Indulge yourself! Discover the joys of chocolate, as Dove Chocolatier Amy Murphy shares a tasting menu of Truffle Fudge Brownie Bites with Spiced Chai whipped topping, Dark Chocolate Mousse Cups, Cinnamon-Dusted Chocolate Covered Almonds, a refreshing, healthy Pomegranate Vitalize drink and more. If you love chocolate, here’s your chance to learn a little history, sample some goodies, buy some items that you won’t find on your usual store shelves… and raise money for the library at the same time.
Friday October 25 I Experience Chocolate: from seed to bar. – Chicago, Illinois Spend a crisp fall night in with Chicago Fair Trade and taste test ten varieties of Kallari chocolate from a fair trade cooperative in Ecuador. You’ll start the night out by sipping wine as your learn about the producers in Ecuador who have crafted these delicacies from the very pod. Moving on you will learn how to distinguish each unique flavor that makes a delicious bite of chocolate. Next, guests will move to the kitchen to learn how to temper and mold the chocolate. With these tips of the trade down, you will be making home chocolate kisses, “besos”.
Saturday October 26 I Choctoberfest NYC – A Friendly Cocoa Competition – New York, New York To celebrate Fair Trade Month…Fuhmentaboudit!, with Divine Chocolate and Jimmy’s No. 43, is proud to present a cocoa fermentation competition. On Saturday, October 26th, celebrate and sample the creativity of NYC’s finest home fermentationists. A panel of judges will decide the winners amongst home-made beer, cider, wine, mead, soda, kombucha, water kefir, milk kefir, and a multitude of fermented foods all featuring chocolate as an ingredient. Certain entries will be entered into the People’s Choice competition where you’ll be the judge! The price of admission includes tastes of the entries plus a full pour of a cocoa beer from 508 Gastrobrewery. Choctoberfest NYC is to celebrate Fair Trade Month. Fair Trade Month aims to raise awareness of the reasons why fair trade is important, and to promote buying and using socially and commercially sustainable, fair trade products in place of commodities which may harm the environment, the economy, communities and disadvantaged individuals. Divine is the only fairtrade chocolate company which is owned by its cocoa farmers. While Fairtrade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry. That’s good business!
Saturday, October 26th I Soroptimist International Red Bluff Chocolate Fantasia – Red Bluff, California Come and enjoy an evening of Chocolate Fantasia on Saturday, October 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Red Bluff Community Center. They’ll be serving a variety of chocolates for you to sample including chocolate savories, sweets and a multitude of different varieties of chocolates, including chocolate beverages. There will again be a silent auction with many great prizes and there is also a separate grand prize drawing for a fabulous quilt.