Hot Chocolate with La Dame Blanche from Dragonfly in Amber

Hot Chocolate with La Dame Blanche

"The White Lady," he murmured.  "She is called a wisewoman, a healer.  And yet...she sees to the center of a man, and can turn his soul to ashes, if evil be found there."  He bobbed his head, turned, and shuffled off hastily in the direction of the kitchen.  I saw his elbow bob, and realized that he was crossing himself as he went.

"Jesus H. Christ," I said, turning back to Jamie.  "Did you ever hear of La Dame Blanche?"

"Um? Oh? Oh, aye, I've...heard the stories." Jamie's eyes were hidden by long auburn lashes as he buried his nose in his cup of chocolate, but the blush on his cheeks was too deep to be put down to the heat of the rising steam.

I leaned back in my chair, crossed my arms, and regarded him narrowly.

"Oh, you have?" I said. "Would it surprise you to hear that the men who attacked Mary and me last night referred to me as La Dame Blanche?"

"They did?" He looked up quickly at that, startled.

Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 20 - La Dame Blanche)

In 1643, Princess Maria Theresa of Spain brought a gift of chocolate to France.

The royal chocolatiers had another 100 years to get Chocolat Chaud just right before J&C came to stay at Jared's.

Thankfully, they came up with a real winner.


Parisian Hot Chocolate is a lot different than that powdered stuff Carnation keeps trying to convince me to add water to.  I won't say a lot more, except maybe to add that corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oil, dipotassium phosphate (and many, many more) simply aren't welcome in my cup.

Instead, I love the simplicity of this recipe from David Lebowitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, turned full-time food writer and cookbook author from his home in Paris.

The key to success with a two-ingredient recipe is quality ingredients.  That means using WHOLE milk (leave the skim for tomorrow morning's cereal) and high-quality chocolate.  I used Camino Bittersweet Baking Chocolate, an organic, free-trade brand with 71% cacao.

Although David also calls for (optional) sugar, neither my Englishman nor I thought it was needed.  That said, I used a little coarse turbinado sugar along with a few flakes of fleur de sel as a pretty garnish.  The salty sweet combo was the perfect finishing touch.  A pinch of cayenne on top wouldn't go amiss either.


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