This post was originally published on July 15, 2007. It has been updated twice since then.
Chocolat (2000): Nominated for 5 Academy Awards(R) including Best Picture, Best Actress (Juliette Binoche — THE ENGLISH PATIENT), and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench — SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE), CHOCOLAT is the beautiful and captivating comedy from the acclaimed director of THE CIDER HOUSE RULES! Nobody could have imagined the impact that the striking Vianne (Binoche) would make when she arrived in a tranquil, old-fashioned French town. In her very unusual chocolate shop, Vianne begins to create mouth-watering confections that almost magically inspire the straitlaced villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness! But it is not until another stranger, the handsome Roux (Johnny Depp — SLEEPY HOLLOW), arrives in town that Vianne is finally able to recognize her own desires!
Chocolat is a movie that when it came out barely registered on my radar. Even its numerous Oscar nominations failed to pique my interest. Then, as I became more interested in food cultures, and the intersection of food and film I saw its name appear over and over again. Still, I never got around to watching it. That is until Susan of Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy and Marc of No Recipes came along with their Dinner and a Movie challenge
Join us each month on a delicious journey though some of our favorite films. Each month we will select a new movie to watch, which will hopefully inspire you to cook or bake something fabulous. Watch it, run with an idea, then share it with all of us. The trick is that not every movie chosen will be a “foodie film”, so you’ll really have to get creative. But, we know you can do it!
Now I had no choice. It was time to finally see the phenom that was ‘Chocolat‘. As J and I leaned back I think we both shared varying degrees of trepidation.
Me: Is this gonna be another overhyped flick that will never be able to live up to the expectations I now have of it?
J: “Is this gonna be a chick flick? Am I going to fall asleep? Will there really be chocolate?”
A little less than 2 hours later, as the credits began to roll. We both tried to wipe silly grins off our face. A modern-day fairy tale, it really resonated with our inner sentimental mushy selves and left us feeling extremely amorous..
… for hot chocolate
You see hot chocolate is a recurring motif in the film. One that is used to draw secrets and stories out of people. To comfort and warm. To strengthen bonds and to soothe. Each time a mug of hot chocolate was poured we ooh and aahed. It was torturous!
So, with the screen faded to black it was time to draw up a batch of hot spiced Mexican Chocolate that, like the chocolate in the movie, combines the velvety warmth of melted chocolate with the fiery jolt of red pepper.
As I chopped and melted pieces of my recently acquired block of Callebaut chocolate and the aroma filled the house, J and I recounted our favourites pieces of the film to each other. And as we leaned back and drank from our respective cups, we both agreed on one thing. We can’t wait to see what film Susan picks next!
I have a Midwestern friend who has waxed poetic to me, on occasion, about how making hot chocolate from scratch is becoming a lost art. Well, I must confess I had always considered ‘from scratch’ as opening a tin of MiLo or Ovaltine and taking a scoop out
After making this recipe though I can understand what my friend was talking about. There is absolutely no comparison between this and instant chocolate mixes, and I certainly won’t be going back to the latter! Rich, full bodied, and thick to the point of almost mousselike, I instantly felt my body relax and warm. In fact I almost started to fall asleep on myself with a hint of a smile, it was that good!
The bright red chili powder gives it a tingly kick that is not overwhelming, and does not detract from the sweetness of the overall medley.
P.S. If using unprocessed local cocoa bars be sure to strain before serving, otherwise you may get a rather unpleasant mouthful of grit at the end of your drink
Easy Hot Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate
Recipe By: Food Network / Michael Chiarello
Serving Size: 4
3/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 pinch salt
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, the best quality possible, grated
2 cups whole milk
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and add to the boiling water. Add
sugar, cinnamon, espresso, and a pinch of salt. Simmer for 1 minute and add the
bittersweet chocolate. Whisk until it gets thick. Add milk and simmer 1 minute.
Serve immediately with sprinkling of chili powder on top, and you can add a dollop of
vanilla ice cream if you wish.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 6.14g
Total Carbs: 57.70g
Dietary Fiber: 1.05g