Hot Chocolate Isn't Just a Drink — It's a Ritual

Drinking hot chocolate in France is a ritual, not an indulgence, and it’s not just for kids.

People will drink it early in the morning on occasion — after all, le petit déjeuner in France is a sweet affai — but the ritual really heats up in the afternoon.

Between December and March, chocolat chaud serves a specific purpose and is traditionally sipped slowly during “le goûter,” the late afternoon break, as a way to sweeten a long day.

As my French neighbor put it: “It’s how we add a sweet touch to these last dreary days of winter.”

Although kids will partake in a cup if offered, chocolat chaud is the très chic way to “goûter” this time of year,

 And it’s mainly the 12-and-up crowd that sips instead of snacks (young kids prefer their chocolate in bar form, often sandwiched between a baguette).

French chocolat chaud is never powdered, and our neighborhood park kiosk uses fresh whole milk and actual melting chocolate.