Rainy days usually make me want to stay inside and curl up with a blanket and a good book. A Californian, I'm a wimp when it comes to cold and rain. I love the sun and the heat. I'll take an 100 degree day anytime over cold, rain, and even worse, snow. Once, I took a three-hour walking tour in minus 4 celsius and it was snowing. I have never been so miserably cold in my life, my lips were blue. Every time we passed a store that had warm clothing, I went in and bought something. I learned nothing on the tour, but I now have 5 layers of shirts and sweatshirts, along with a scarf and ski gloves all saying "Prague."
Even though it was cold, I couldn't stay inside---I'm in Paris, and well, it wasn't snowing. I decided to walk and see where it took me. I didn't make it very far. I was shivering after about 10 minutes outside. (Did I say I was a wimp in the cold?) As I walked past the Cafe de Flore, I saw an empty table directly under an overhead heater--bright red and emitting warmth.
The Cafe de Flore has been on the corner of Saint Germain Des Pres and rue Saint Benoit since 1890. Some have called it a historic landmark, and it has served many philosophers and literati. It also has hot chocolate that is pas mal. Today was a perfect day for hot chocolate, so I took a seat right under the heater.
I didn't only get a cup of hot chocolate; I got a picture of it! It was thick and rich, almost like drinking melted chocolate but better by the addition of cream. I sat and drank and watched the rest of the world fight the rain. The heater warmed me on the outside and the chocolate warmed my insides; I was completely content. It couldn't have been any better of a day, even if I were at the beach. At 7.80 euros it's a bit pricy, but much less than buying up layers and layers of Paris sweatshirts.
Below is a recipe for some heavenly hot chocolate. It's a little thicker than Cafe de Flore's, but that's a good thing, right? If you want to thin it out, keep the amount of chocolate the same and use more cream, maybe 4 ounces more.
Heavenly Hot Chocolate
Makes 4 servings
15 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces 70% chocolate
Chop the chocolate into tiny pieces and put it into a bowl. Bring the cream to a scald (when tiny bubbles form around the edges). Pour the scalded cream over the chocolate, let sit for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate, then whisk together. Reheat the mixture over medium heat until it's hot, whisking constantly, so nothing burns. Off the heat, use an immersion blender to make the hot chocolate nice and frothy.