As our calendars turned a page to December, our beautiful city Segovia starts to be embezzled by beautifılly lit-up decorations.
This time of year, living in Segovia feels like a warm blanket, emotionally, even though the temperatures have been dropping each day. However, something about Christmas and families filling up streets under the fairy lights feels particularly heartwarming.
Those days deserve something extra to make them even more wholesome such as hot chocolate. For me, and I’m sure for many more too, hot chocolate feels quite nostalgic; it’s a flashback to our childhoods.
For that reason, I made it my mission to taste test-ready available hot chocolates from cafes around Segovia and compare them to homemade recipes.
Hot chocolate must perfect many qualities such as texture, viscosity, secondary flavours, and a balance of sweetness. On the other hand, these qualities are pretty subjective, thus I have gathered some of my friends as a focus group to taste test with me.
I began my quest at La Colonial.
Near the centre of Segovia, you can find two of these cafes. One of them locates near Plaza Mayor, while the other is located near the Aqueduct.
In this cafe, and all others, my first observation was that the hot chocolate was inside a machine that kept the hot chocolate in a circular motion to keep it hot and prevent skin formation on top. In contrast, it also meant that the hot chocolate was ready-made and thus requesting it to be lactose-free, vegan or dairy-free was not possible.
The hot chocolate from La Colonial was quite rich in chocolate flavour, it felt less milky and more like melted chocolate, and the texture was silky and didn’t fall short. On the other hand, the viscosity was quite thick and it was more suitable for a spoon or as a dip than sipping it. It was just like the others, as you’ll come to read: impossible to finish. The other subjective was secondary flavours; some examples are cinnamon, or a little bitterness, however, I was not able to pick up on notable flavours other than extreme sweetness. If there was any use of sugar in the making, it was overpowered! While the lack of taste in milk was pleasant for me, the hot chocolate was a little overpowering for some of my friends.
My next stop was the famous chain cafe, Granier.
The most apparent difference was the amount of milk flavour in this hot chocolate. It was way more present than in La Colonial’s and my focus group adored this quality, while a lactose intolerant person who also does not enjoy milk at all costs, said it was disappointing. Moreover, the infamous churning machine was here with us this time as well.
In addition, the lack of secondary flavours was a quality of this hot chocolate, there was no trace of a rich yet underlying taste. For those who enjoy a simple hot chocolate that is sippable, this cafe might be your address.
Before I give out the recipe for a perfect hot chocolate provided by the mother of an IE student, there is one more famous cafe in Segovia that offers the season’s favourite drink: Limon y Menta.
This was my last address for comparison.
In my experience, Limon y Menta out of all the outrageous options was the mildest one. The hot chocolate was way less sweet and a bit more diluted. My quest’s last stop also did not fulfil my dream of secondary flavours. It was perhaps even milkier than Granier, and out of all of the hot chocolates I tried, was the only one an avid hot chocolate lover could have finished.
None of these cafes’ hot chocolates is even comparable to the recipe you are about to read.
A parent, who by many has been titled the Queen of Hot Chocolate, shared her step-by-step images of how she makes her famous hot chocolate. These pictures include ingredients such as cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and salt—all perfect secondary flavours.
In her recipe, she first boils the grains of paradise, known as melegueta pepper, and cinnamon sticks. Then, adds the rest of the ingredients. Last year, I tasted her hot chocolate and I must admit, it was exceptional.
This holiday season, if you feel up to drinking a lot of chocolate try out the recipe yourself or try one of the cafes in the review. Perhaps you will enjoy them more than me.