Passion Fruit to Peppermint: Variations at Valrhona’s Hot Chocolate Festival

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At the launch party for Valrhona’s Hot Chocolate Festival last week, swarms of New Yorkers packed the Laduree Patisserie in Soho to sample winter’s favorite beverage re-imagined by a dozen of the city’s top pastry pros. The event was a benefit for Food Tank, a non-profit fighting food waste and pursuing food system change, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the organization.

Each of the participants created a special hot chocolate recipe that will be available at their individual bakeries, pastry shops, and cafes until February 4th, with 50 cents from each cup sold donated to Food Tank.

At the kickoff, Laduree executive pastry chef Jimmy Leclerc was ladling out Passionement, a delicately fruity dairy-free elixir made with coconut milk and passion fruit infused Valrhona Itakuja 55%, accompanied by a selection of Laduree’s quintessential macarons. The fruit theme cropped up again with an orange/ maple drink paired with Valrhona Alpaco 66% single origin Equador by Epicerie Boulud’s executive pastry chef Jayce Baudry while banana and dulce de leche utilizing Valrhona Kidavoa was the choice for Rory Macdonald of Patisserie Chanson.

Channeling the affinity of chocolate and spices, Baked bakery offered Winter Spiced Drinking Chocolate with Valrhona classic hot chocolate mix, mingling notes of anise, vanilla, orange, cinnamon, and ginger, buoyed by black cocoa and Valrhona 62 % dark chocolate, topped with large, melting marshmallows. Brooklyn Roasting Company increased the heat level, adding cinnamon and a generous pinch of cayenne; Marie Belle cooled it with soothing peppermint.

Valrhona’s Guanaja 70% was the choice for several pastry chefs including Marc Aumont at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate.  Executive pastry chef Tyler Atwell at Layfayette combined it with  Valrhona’s Jivara 40% milk chocolate; and Dominique Ansel used Valrhona’s Satilia 62. Ansel’s finishing flourish? A surprising cold hot chocolate foam (recipe below).

A different type of flourish, featuring the work of famed latte artist, Michael Breach drew lines at Laduree for his portraits of guests delineated in foam.

This year marks the fourth annual Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival in New York.

Along with other similar events taking place in Chicago and Montreal, Valrhona’s goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year for Food Tank.


Chef’s Hot Chocolate with Cold Hot Chocolate Foam From Dominique Ansel Kitchen

Make: 6 cups


Ingredients

  • For the Hot Chocolate
    • 1,542 g Whole milk, divided in half
    • 204 g Valrhona Satilia 62% Chocolate
    • 204 g Valrhona Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate
    • 51 g Valrhona cocoa paste (chopped)
  • For the Chocolate Foam
    • 2 cups Hot Chocolate (recipe from above), chilled

Method

  • For the Hot Chocolate
    • In a pot, bring the first half of the milk to boil while stirring, then remove from the heat immediately.
    • Place the chocolate and cocoa paste in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Carefully pour the hot milk over the chocolate to melt it. Whisk until smooth and evenly combined throughout.
    • Pour in the other half of the milk (cold) and continue whisking until smooth. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • For the Cold Hot Chocolate Foam
  • Pour 2 cups of the hot chocolate mix from above into a charged whipped cream canister (make sure it’s chilled and the canister is charged).

To Serve

Heat up the hot chocolate in a pot while whisking, or with an espresso steamer. Pour into a mug, and top with a layer of cold Hot Chocolate foam.