It´s beginning to look like hot chocolate
The Christmas decorations at my parents´ house went up yesterday. We always do it on the 8th, a national holiday, and a very good day to start spreading the Yuletide spirit.
Chez moi all you will see are a couple of rows of small twinkly lights, but my mother´s approach is of the take no prisoners sort. There´s a tree, several kilometers of garlands, mistletoe, and of course a sprawling Nativity scene with at least a hundred figures. There´s a dancing Santa Claus, ribbons for the front door, an advent calendar, and for some reason a pink fish and a glittery monkey have joined the throng.
The thing to do is to listen to silly music, fight over who gets to put the star on top of the tree, and decide who´s luckier, according to the importance of the Nativity figures we pull out first. Then, after all the pieces of newspaper, stray bits of ribbon, broken figurine arms and tiny plastic pigs have all been put in the trash, it´s time for a cup of hot chocolate.
The Spanish version, as sold in bars and chocolaterías to accompany a side of churros is a thick sweet gloop, eaten with a spoon, and tasting only remotely of cocoa. When you buy a bar of chocolate "a la taza" you´re buying something that has a lot of flour or cornstarch, or both. Which is why I advise you to stay clear of the chocolate a la taza bars, and go instead for Lindt´s cooking chocolate, or Valrhona, if you can find it.
I make a frenchified version, made with 1250 ml of whole milk, 250 gr of 70% chocolate, a teaspoonful of cornstarch ( I am a Spanish, after all), a piece of cinammon, and no sugar.
It´s dark, velvety and strong, perfect for dunking sweet cake, biscuits, churros or even roscón. If you have a plateful of migas to go alongside, then you will be very close to heaven.