I would never say I have a good memory. I forget things all the time and lose track of the funny stories and interesting tidbits of my childhood and youth. But I have an intense and detailed memory for food. Maybe it's genetic - my mom is known to have dreams of a particular piece of meatloaf she befriended. (At the same time, The Boy told me he can barely remember any particular meals - what what?? Tragedy.) Anyhoo, reliving great meals is an excellent time waster (especially at the gym). Yet, it is also an acutely terrible thing, when the dish you are remembering...and craving ... is only available halfway around the globe.
Chocolat Chaud (hot chocolate) at Angelina in Paris. I know this sounds pretty hoity-toity of me, but honestly, this gilded little cafe is in every tourist and backpackers guide to Paris. And that's not to say that you'll hear 'merican and not Francais spoken here. Everyone from college grads on their continental treks to classy french ladies shopping in the city wants a hit of this chocolate heaven.
So the other day when I was having a chocolate craving, I unfortunately remembered the one and only time I visited Angelina's. It was a late spring morning on a family trip to Paris. Angelina had been on the agenda and the morning had been spent trekking through the chilly city in pursuit of the holy grail of liquefied chocolate lust.
The cafe is an elegant, turn-of-the-century salon and you inexplicably feel compelled to raise a pinkie and tilt your beret upon entering. You may also imagine, as you look around, that Coco Chanel (a former frequenter) will brush by draped in pearls. Seated at a fancy bistro table, you wait, feeling antsy-in-your-pantsy until the waiter presents you with a steaming pitcher of black-brown ambrosia -- L'Africain -- named for the tropical source of the cacao beans-- accompanied by a small pot of thick-as-butter whipped cream. Indulgence -- the chocolate is so rich, and thick, and dark it's like falling down the rabbit's hole into a deep, mystical, world where flavors are heightened almost beyond recognition. Some will tell you to get a pastry or cream puff to go with your Chocolat Chaud - that's gilding the lily and tempting your stomach possibly past capacity, in my opinion, but it's your choice.
In my mind, it's the perfect antidote to this dreary fall day - sitting in Angelina's, sipping a piping cup of L'Africain - pinkie up - dressed entirely in Chanel tweed. Don't you dare pinch me.
or try your hand at recreating the recipe here.