The best hot chocolate

It was a stormy day, the kind of stormy day that sends you shaking under the duvet at two o’clock in the afternoon, fully clothed in jeans and wooly scarf. The kind of stormy day that makes you reach for the smallest suggestions of warmth and protection, and makes a twenty three year old feel five years old. The wind was ripping through cracks I didn’t know were in the walls of the house. The rain and the hail were fighting for airspace and the cold just sat on the city unaware of the discomfort it gave the shivering citizens.

storm sky

My mom sent me pictures of what this “red alert” weather warning looked like on the side of a hill in West Limerick. A tree house, two bikes, three trees, torn down by the wind right by my bedroom gable, in case you can’t tell.

     DSC_0394   storm   storm2

I sat in my room, afraid to leave the house in case I got blown away with the bins the whole way to Salthill. Eventually, the storm calmed to an angry quarrel between the wind coming from Salthill, right off the Atlantic, and the wind coming from the direction of the university, down from the Corrib river. And so in my wisdom, I went from quaking under the duvet to marching through the middle of that little domestic spat, to catch the post office before it closed in the evening and to say hello to the girls on my way home. As you do when the glass panels of the upper storey windows are blown into the library a few hundred yards away from your path. Moving on.

Here is a picture of the sky from their apartment during the lull when I ventured out.


This evening I felt kind of brave for having survived the day. I also felt a little cold and shivery still. The idea came to me like inspiration, exactly what I needed to do…

Enter Ireland’s loveliest hot chocolate:

hot choc

Is iontach an t-anlann an t-ocras and I’m thinking that cold is as good a flavour enhancer as hunger. To a cold little girl going to bed while a storm rattles her windows, what better distraction and heart-strengthener could there be than some lovely hot chocolate?

Here is what I did:

  1. I poured one mug of semi-skimmed milk and then tipped that milk into a saucepan.
  2. I heated the milk.
  3. Over the top of the milk I shook the tiniest shake of cinnamon powder.
  4. And then, I added a dash of vanilla essence.
  5. I placed the lid on the pot and let the milk heat up and infuse with the cinnamon and vanilla.
  6. In my mug (same one I used to measure the milk) I put two lovely white marshmallows in the bottom.
  7. I stirred the milk a little bit to check now and then, and I didn’t let it boil, just get hot.
  8. When the milk had heated up enough, I added two and a half spoonfuls of Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder.
  9. I gave the milk and chocolate a little while to get accquainted, and warm up some more and then when it was just beginning to steam, I poured the lovely liquid into my mug over the marshmallows.
  10. The marshmallows instantly rose to the top and started melting on their way up. By the time I had washed the saucepan and climbed the stairs, my marshmallows had turned into a vanilla-y cinnamon-y steamed-milk-y frothiness. And underneath the drifting clouds of white loveliness, was a heart-stopping chocolatey, milky concoction infused with vanilla and cinnamon.
  11. Need I say more?




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