Easy Hot Spiced Mexican Chocolate (recipe)


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 bones 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! 🙂

This post was originally published on July 15, 2007. It has been updated and expanded for inclusion in Dinner And A Movie. The post in its original context follows from below

Michael Chiarello is one of my top celebrity chef crushes but up until now I have not prepared any of his dishes. That all changed the other night when I was feeling for a snack and flipping through my recipe database. It’s the rainy season here and it was pouring down and more than a little chilly (chilly being relative of course, it was probably around 24C :P)

As my hunger and goosebumps grew, this recipe for Easy Hot Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate caught my eye. I have a MidWestern friend who waxed poetic to me 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 (using my trusty pack of local Blendo’s chocolate) 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. Because I used local cocoa bars, which are unprocessed, I had to strain the mixture after making it, but I don’t think this would be an issue with processed chocolate.

Due to the inclusion of the chili powder I also thought this recipe would make a lovely submission to the Red & White Cookbook Challenge, not all food bloggers are currently experiencing summer after all (I’m lookin’ at all you Southern Hemisphere folks) and even here in the North there are still rainy days and the occasional nippy night. 🙂

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
chili powder


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.