by Lake Khera for Noble Estates.
Anyone who’s been to the Alps knows that hitting the slopes is only half the fun. There’s nothing wrong with the Rockies, but when it comes to chalet life, we still have a thing or two to learn. It’s not just the parties – some alpine dance clubs have gained as much notoriety as their cousins in Ibiza – but also what they’re drinking as they dance the night away.
Since the slopes here in Ontario still look more suitable for mountain biking, why not use this time to perfect our après-ski game for what will be an undoubtedly short season?
There is no drink more iconically associated with chic winter sporting than the Green Chaud. Now so ubiquitous that one might think that it has been around as long as Mont Blanc itself, this elixir – consisting of thick, French-style hot chocolate and green Chartreuse – is actually a relatively recent arrival to the scene. And it’s not about to go anywhere.
It’s hard to say exactly why the Green Chaud has come to be the quintessential first drink to have after coming inside from the cold mountain air, with numerous ski stations offering the beverage to patrons on a complimentary basis. Maybe it is that magical feeling of consuming something where it was conceived. Like drinking a wine at the vineyard from which it came, there is something serene about drinking Chartreuse, an essence of alpine life, in the land it represents. Maybe it’s the warming quality of the elixir, that when mixed with the old-fashioned hot chocolate, becomes the equivalent of a fireplace, an armchair, and dry clothes in a mug.
Chartreuse, now enjoying a sort of renaissance, is notorious for its history shrouded in mystery and the secrecy of its recipe. The secret to making a Green Chaud, on the other hand, is not behind lock and key. However, to be done right, it requires a little more than stirring powder into milk and dropping in a shot. Though nostalgia always wins from time to time, with chalet-style hot chocolate (as with chalet-style poutine) it’s worth spending the extra ten minutes to make hot chocolate the way it should be made.
On account of the richness of the hot chocolate, only a small vessel needs to be used – about 6oz, or the size of a traditional cappuccino cup. Tall, fluted, glasses look especially nice if they are available.
The whipping cream can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge until the time of serving. We suggest adding a dash of Chartreuse for colour and sweetness, but this detail can be left out if not everyone wants their cream with a kick.
CHARTREUSE GREEN CHAUD
What you will need (4 servings):
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated dark chocolate (60% cocoa minimum)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (leave out the additional salt if you are using salted butter)
1/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
3 1/4 oz green Chartreuse (3/4 oz per serving and 1/4 oz for the whipped cream)
Sugar, for serving
1. In a cold metal bowl, beat the heavy/whipping cream with a stand-alone or hand mixer until soft peaks begin to form (about 6 minutes). If desired, add the Chartreuse, and continue to mix until firm peaks form (about 2 more minutes). Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Using a grater, food processor, or chef’s knife, break the chocolate down into small pieces. Add the salt and corn starch to the grated chocolate and combine.
3. Melt the butter and add it to the chocolate mix, stirring until incorporated. The chocolate should begin to melt from the heat of the butter.
4. In a double-boiler (or, if unavailable, a heavy-bottomed saucepan), heat the milk until steaming hot. Add two tablespoons of the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Keep adding the chocolate mix tablespoon by tablespoon until it is entirely melted into the milk mixture.
5. Keep cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be quite thick.
6. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the Chartreuse.
7. Pour evenly into four cups and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve with sugar on the side for those who like it extra sweet.
Try it with yellow Chartreuse for a slightly sweeter and less herbaceous variation on the drink. For drinking on it’s own, Chartreuse V.E.P. (which stands for Veillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé or Exceptionally Prolonged Aging) is available in it’s yellow version through LCBO Vintages.
Green Chartreuse is available through the LCBO in 375ml bottles. Click here to find some near you.
Chartreause is imported to Ontario by Noble Estates, a Good Food Fighter. Please support the businesses and organizations that support Good Food Fighters.