Food and drink are the ultimate comfort during autumn and winter. By the end of the summer I am always looking forward to the first cold snap, partly because it gives us an excuse to light a fire in an evening, but mainly because I have had enough of salads and am ready for hearty soups with homemade bread and slow cooked stews, as well as mulled wine and hot chocolate. There is nothing as comforting or satisfying as coming home after work to a stew that has been cooking all day or warming up by drinking hot chocolate after a wet Sunday afternoon walk.
Over the last few days, autumn has arrived at the studio with gusto. All the lovely large windows David has installed means that when its gusty or rainy you can really feel and see it, which is something I love in winter – to be safely inside whilst the weather rages outside! One of the huge bonuses of working in an office that also happens to be a kitchen is that you have a lot of facilities you don’t have in a normal workspace. This means that when its a bit wild outside we can create elaborate concoctions to keep off the chill! David has come up with an amazing recipe for a creamy, rich, slightly spicy and fudgey hot chocolate, with added fudge. It is absolutely heavenly when the wind is howling outside!
Studio Hot Chocolate for weathering the winter:
Place the chocolate and fudge on a low heat in a heavy pan. Slowly stir in half of the milk as the chocolate begins to melt. Stir well. Add cinnamon, cloves and remainder of milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and whisk hot chocolate for 1 minute. Serve with more fudge.
Amazingly, he just piled all the ingredients into rough amounts he thought would work and then proceeded to whip them into an awesome hot chocolate. I was not initially convinced by the idea of fudge added to my hot chocolate (I’m a bit of a traditionalist), but I can promise you that it’s heavenly!
However, sometimes you just can’t wait to go home and make your own hot chocolate and there are lots of places in the South West that serve up heavenly hot chocolates to soggy dog walkers or indeed any souls who are brave enough to face the weather!
These are a few of our favourite hot chocolates in the South West:
The Extreme Hot Chocolate, The Beach Hut, Watergate Bay
This has been my favourite place to have hot chocolate since I was about 11 years old. I used to wheedle my parents into walking the dog on Watergate Bay so that we could stop for a hot chocolate afterwards. It’s the perfect winter experience to stroll across the beach when the waves are rolling in and then rock up to The Beach Hut to warm up and enjoy the view. The hot chocolate is just the right level of sweet, but the big attraction is the added extras: they serve it in a glass mug with a mountain of squirty cream, marshmallows and jazzies. It’s an instant favourite with little ones (and big ones as well!). It’s an absolutely stunning venue – particularly dramatic when the waves are crashing!
Rojano’s Hot Chocolate, Rojano’s in the Square, Padstow
There are a number of lovely walks around Padstow – either towards Wadebridge on the Camel Trail or up past the War Memorial towards Hawker’s Cove – but it’s also great just to browse around the shops on a winter’s day and then stop off at Rojano’s to keep out the chill. Again, their hot chocolate is pretty great; it comes straight from local Cornish supplier Origin, and it’s lovely, dark and truly chocolatey. They then take it to another level, starting off with a layer of mini melt in your mouth marshmallows, followed by nice helping of freshly whipped cream, they then add what they call ‘Chocolate Surprises’. (Malteasers, Smarties and Cadbury buttons) Every hot chocolate lovers dream!
Hot Chocolate, Bar Chocolat, Bristol
These guys definitely make one of the best hot chocolates in Bristol. It’s quite an unassuming little cafe, but once you go inside they have a huge cabinet full of all different kinds of amazing looking chocolates. The hot chocolate is made solely with belgian chocolate melted in hot milk; they don’t add anything else at all. They also do dark chocolate drinks, made using very dark (like 70%) chocolate, which are perfect if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth. They offer all the extras as well, including cream, marshmallows and chocolate flakes and if you’re feeling adventurous you can try the orange oil (it’s delicious!).
Do let us know if you have a favourite spot for a Hot Chocolate – we would love to add it to our list!