Recipe: Peruvian hot chocolate

In Perú there’s no such thing as Christmas in July. Instead, we eat and drink all the wintery Christmas stuff in the middle of summer. The large Christmas eve dinner of roasted turkey (or suckling pig), applesauce and/or mash, Russian salad, rice, etc. is followed by hot chocolate and panettone. Peruvian hot chocolate is made with blocks of bitter cooking chocolate that are simmered with spices and then mixed with evaporated milk and sugar. It is not a “light” beverage by any stretch of imagination.

However, when the weather cools down, our bodies crave hot beverages that provide energy and comfort. Hence, I’ve created a version of Peruvian hot chocolate that provides warmth and fuel without being overly energy-dense nor sugary.

A note on sweeteners: nutritive sweeteners are those that contribute to energy intake (e.g. sugar of all kinds, honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, agave nectar, etc.). Non-nutritive sweeteners do not contribute to energy intake and can be classified as artificial (e.g. aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame), natural (e.g. stevia, monk fruit extract) and sugar alcohols (e.g. sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol). If you have blood sugar issues (e.g. prediabetes, diabetes, insulin resistance), it’s better to avoid nutritive sweeteners. If you have liver-related issues (e.g. fatty liver, high triglycerides, etc.) you should especially avoid those nutritive sweeteners that contain a high proportion of fructose, such as agave nectar.

Peruvian hot chocolate

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 100g dark chocolate (I prefer 85% or above)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cups milk (any kind)
  • sugar or sweetener to taste (see notes above)


  1. Break chocolate in pieces and place in a pot with water, cinnamon and cloves.
  2. Simmer until chocolate is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  3. Drain and serve in mugs, adding 1 cup of milk per mug and sweetener to taste.

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