During the cold, dark winter, hot chocolate in Norway – varm kakao – is the drink you have when you are not having coffee. The standard for chain cafés is to use a powder mix. But when you see a café use real chocolate, then you know you’re at a good café.

Of course, Norwegians also make their own varm kakao at home. Here is a typical Norwegian home recipe (the easiest ever):

All you need is milk and good quality melting chocolate!

In Norway you can buy special melting chocolate for drinking from a Nordic brand called Freia. This chocolate isn’t as dense, no wax, and is designed to melt fast. This hot chocolate tends to be smoother and creamier than powdered varieties.

To make:
Put one coffee cup of milk into a saucepan – it can be any milk you like. Add one strip of chocolate. (I like to shave the chocolate to make the melting happen faster.) Warm gently so the chocolate melts, stirring with a spoon. Do not let it boil.

Double the ingredients for two cups and so on.

Quick and easy! (And when Norwegians know you have used real chocolate, they feel rather special.)

Recently, I’ve been enjoying a Mocha Coffee version of this hot chocolate drink. Half black coffee and half hot chocolate. It is divine.

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