by TJ AndersonLennon Stella's home, photo via People.comI was already impressed by Lennon Stella, who, by starring in TV drama Nashville, managed to build a double-threat career as an actress and
Make The Best Ever Hot Chocolate With A Little Help From Nashville
by TJ Anderson
It’s just about time in Nashville to lock down by the fireplace with a big mug of hot chocolate. But, living in a city with an award-winning, red-hot food scene, obviously we’re not gonna just do any old pour-in-some-powder cocoa.
Below, my prime picks for Nashville-area-made ingredients that’ll guarantee an award-winning, red-hot mug of hot chocolate.
Sure, the powder is fine in a pinch, but the best hot chocolate is made with real melted chocolate. And for my money, you have two particularly excellent options from the made-in-Nashville world.
A) Chocolate bars from East Nashville’s Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. The 67% cacao bar is a perfect balance of dark/sweet, and the Mexican-Style Cinnamon Chili makes a seriously awesome Mexican hot chocolate.
B) a Hot Chocolate Bomb from Tempered Cafe. The Germantown eatery/chocolatier makes their own hot chocolate mix and tucks it inside chocolate spheres that you can drop into hot milk. It’s just as easy as the old Swiss Miss standby, but the results taste significantly better. (The cafe is located at 1201 5th Avenue North.)
When you hear the word “marshmallow” in Nashville, one name comes to mind: Bang Candy Company, who’ve become deservedly beloved for their handmade mallows in creative flavors, like Toasted Almond Coconut and Rose Cardamom. If you’ve never had a handmade marshmallow in your hot chocolate, you’re definitely going to be blown away by how much of a difference it makes. (Especially if you add a big Bang Candy flavor, like Chocolate Chili or Maple Bacon Bourbon.)
You can order Bang Candy Co. marshmallows online at bangcandycompany.com, or stop by their Marathon Village shop, at 1300 Clinton Street, Suite 127.
The whipped cream
Sorry to say if you're effort-averse, but there’s no getting around the extra work on this one: The best whipped cream is homemade, always. So, either you dig in with the mixer, or get someone else in your house to do it. For your key ingredient, go with Hatcher Family Dairy’s cream — they’re based nearby in College Grove, Tennessee, and have been at it since 1831. Many of Nashville’s best restaurants head Hatcher's way for dairy products, and you can buy their milk and cream in a mix of local shops/spaces, from The Turnip Truck in East Nashville and The Gulch to Whole Foods in Green Hills. For some extra Southern flavor: There’s a recipe here for Bourbon Whipped Cream, from Nashville food blog Love & Olive Oil.
I was just reading about East Nashville-based ceramics team Summer Triangle Pottery, who’ve made custom, rustic dishware for one of my favorite Nashville restaurants, Lockeland Table. Even if they weren’t local, I’d be into their creations — their designs embody the Wabi-sabi aesthetic (if you read home design magazines, you’ve been seeing a lot of this term over the past year — essentially meaning the beauty in imperfection). Take these simple white mugs as an example: softened and made more beautiful by the little telltale imperfections that come with being handmade.
The little something extra
Your average non-Nashvillian in search of an extra hot-chocolate kick probably adds some Bailey’s, Kahlua, maybe even some of that whipped cream-flavored vodka stuff. That’s all well and good (well, maybe not the whipped cream vodka so much), but there’s a better way to amplify your cocoa, and it’s made right here in Nashville: Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream. It’s made with Tennessee whiskey, but it also brings in extra flavors, like caramel, pecan, fig — perfect winter stuff, and perfect hot chocolate additions. Here’s a simple Sipping Cream-jolted hot chocolate recipe, or you can just add some to whatever hot chocolate you’re making.
Not inclined to make your cocoa alcoholic? Check out White’s Elixirs for an added kick without the booze. They make a bunch of organic syrups that’d bring something extra to a Nashville-made, hand-mixed cup of cocoa — in particular, their Saigon Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean syrups. You can order online via Amazon, or pick up bottles at a long list of local shops.
Hope those contribute to an upped hot-cocoa game in a few Nashville households this winter. Have the top-notch hot chocolate down pat, but need a new home and a new fireplace to complete the picture? I’d love to help. Call or email TJ Anderson Homes here.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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