This is the real stuff. There is no instant brown mystery powder in authentic Colombian hot chocolate. And the best part is that is served with a little surprise – cheese cubes. Yes, cheese. The first time Donatello told me about this local specialty, I was just confused. Really, chocolate and cheese? Both are two of my top favourite ingredients of all time, but together? The answer was yes, and the combination is a sweet, rich drink with a salty little treat. It sort of goes along with the trend – caramel and sea salt, chocolate with pretzels – you get the idea. Skeptical or not, you must try hot chocolate with cheese before you decide.
Donatello has had a bit of difficulty locating the perfect cheese here in Toronto, even after visiting quite a few of the Colombian grocers in our neighbourhood. From what we’ve tried, a salty, squeaky cheese is the best, like halloumi, but mozzarella will also work if nothing else is available. Different spices can also be used, such as cloves instead of cinnamon.
- 4 cups skim milk (or, 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups water)
- 6 squares from a Colombian bitter hot chocolate bar, like Luker
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 5 cloves
- ¼ cup honey (if the chocolate is unsweetened)
- 4 oz white cheese, such as halloumi or mozzarella
- Add all ingredients except cheese to a pot, or a Colombian olleta, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium when it boils and becomes frothy. You may need to lift the pot off the burner if it threatens to pour over the edge. Make sure to watch the pot!
- Use a wooden spoon, or a traditional molinillo, to mix chocolate by rolling it between your hands.
- Allow to boil and then cool by lifting off burner. Traditionally, this boiling process is supposed to make the cocoa more digestible.
- Cut cheese into 1cm cubes and divide evenly into four mugs.
- Pour hot chocolate into the four mugs and serve immediately with a spoon.