Maybe it’s the Brit in me, but given how my writing and I are so inextricably linked to the weather, is it even possible to have a conversation without mentioning the weather? I don’t think so! Weather, in all its different guises, runs like a thread, weaving together the meals I choose to prepare and of course the seasonal flavours that are so important. It also means that when it is cold outside, I long for a hot drink to warm my insides or vice-versa.
When out and about as a child in this late season, one of the most favourable treats my sister and I could hope to receive was a hot chocolate. You know the kind: a warm soothing mug of milky sweet bitter chocolate, topped with a good helping of cream and a generous sprinkling of chocolate to finish. Not an everyday treat, but something to look forward to immensely: an instant hug in a mug. Add a spicy heartwarming gingerbread man and the moment becomes a lifelong memory.
I happily share the experience with my children, and between us we have our own favourites here in Copenhagen. It is quite amazing just how many varieties one can find here; in fact, I am sure a ‘bar crawl’ along and alongside Stroget would produce an array of styles. From the more modest powdered-chocolate mix hydrated with hot water, which usually tastes amazing as it is the one most of us find when freezing cold and battling the elements somewhere in a forest or seaside town. To the super-duper, “Look at me, I am a hot chocolate”, destination drink − the one that promises much and never fails to deliver. A block of rich dark chocolate lovingly dropped by stick into a frothy hot cup of milk where it melts tantalisingly slowly, too slowly if you are under the age of ten, before being crowned by a towering mass of chocolate-capped cream mountains.
My boys prefer the one they can order at Books & Company in Hellerup, also the closest to their school funnily enough, but they assure me that my version is their second favourite (they are good boys and I suspect no ulterior motive!). It’s not too sweet, full of cocoa and topped with a generous addition of whipped cream.
I asked the parents at school which were their favourite places to go and these are some of the suggestions they made. No two were the same, which leads me to believe that no matter where in the world we are from, Hot Chocolate speaks a language that we all understand.
Books & Company
English-language bookshop situated in the heart of Hellerup − pop by for a hot chocolate in the company of books.
Sofievej 1, Hellerup; www.booksandcompany.dk
Peter Beier Chocolate
A wonderful Danish chocolatier known for his exquisite handcrafted chocolates and now hot chocolate.
Nordre Frihavnsgade 20, Cph Ø; www.peterbeierchokolade.dk
Conditori la Glace
Dating from the 1890s, La Glace is an institution here in Copenhagen and very well known for its amazing cakes. Take a visit and be tempted by both cake and hot chocolate. An ultimate day-out treat.
Skoubogade 3, Cph K; www.laglace.dk
Peter Lieps Hus
Tucked away in the Dyrehavn, close to Bakken, is Peter Lieps Hus, a meeting point for families and friends throughout the whole year as they visit the deer park for a walk and some welcome fresh air.
Dyrehavn 8, Klampenborg; www.peterliep.dk