People 2 minutes 24 May 2018

Ask The Experts: Tips For Making The Perfect Chocolate Drink

Just quality chocolate and fresh milk are needed, but temperature control is crucial. Never have a bad cuppa again with these tips.

chocolate Ask the Expert ingredients

Always had a burning question but not sure who to ask? In our regular Ask The Experts section, we do all the noseying so you don't have to. In this edition, we get Li Li Hui, CEO of Thirtythree Private Limited, which owns and operates premium chocolate boutique The Dark Gallery, to share her top tips for making that perfect cup of hot chocolate.

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The Dark Gallery recently launched its second outlet at Takashimaya shopping centre, a full-fledged café and chocolate boutique specialising in premium single-origin dark chocolates and artisanal chocolate desserts.

The café also offers seven varieties of single-origin dark chocolate which can be made into hot or cold drinks, as well as luxurious chocolate beverages with classic flavour pairings.
Here, the company’s CEO shares what makes a great cuppa. “I’ve had many cups of chocolate which, at first mouthful, blew me away with their lush and decadent flavours but wound up being so rich that I could not finish them,” says Li Hui. “A good cup of chocolate, to me, is one that you can enjoy from start to finish, with the flavours of the chocolate developing along the way.”
Specialty chocolate bars at The Dark Gallery.
Specialty chocolate bars at The Dark Gallery.
Dear Li Hui,
What kind of chocolate is best for making hot and cold drinks?

The best kind of chocolate to make hot and cold drinks would be pure dark chocolate. At The Dark Gallery, we use only single-origin dark chocolate couvertures or our Signature 66% dark chocolate that runs on tap; melted at precisely 40°C for the ideal texture and viscosity to make our chocolate beverages.

I do not recommend adding milk to white or milk chocolate, as the flavours of the milk overpowers the chocolate and it will taste more like chocolate-flavoured milk. Alternatively, you may also choose to use drinking chocolate, more commonly known as cocoa powder, but these commonly contain emulsifiers, sugar and fillers that compromise the texture, taste and quality of the beverage.

It’s actually very easy to make good chocolate beverages from scratch at home; all you need to do is to melt the chocolates over a low heat and slowly stir in frothed fresh milk.
The Dark Gallery - Single Origin Chocolate Tablets (Papua New Guinea - 35percent Milk Chocolate).jpg
Does the type of milk or cream I use matter?

Yes, it does. Similar to making specialty coffees, we recommend using fresh milk that has a clean taste and subtle sweetness as it does not take away from the chocolate. An example of such would be Meiji Fresh Milk, which we use at The Dark Gallery. We add only frothed fresh milk and nothing else to the chocolate so that the actual flavours of the chocolate come through.

How do I make sure the mixture is smooth?

To ensure that the mixture is smooth, you have to first consider the freshness and quality of ingredients used. You’ll also need the right technique to concoct the perfect chocolate beverage. The chocolates have to be melted at approximately 40°C, while the fresh milk used has to be frothed at approximately 65-70°C. Precision is key to concocting the perfect drink!
How can I dress up my hot chocolate?

Chocolates go well with many different flavours. However, it also depends on the type of chocolate as each single-origin chocolate or blend has its own distinctive taste profile. For example, the Madagascan 64% single-origin chocolate used at The Dark Gallery goes especially well with berries and spices, whereas the Signature 66% dark chocolate is more versatile and goes well with a variety of food flavours, such as cheese, sea salt, coffee, tea, citrusy fruit, biscuits or nuts.
Dress up your chocolate drink with things like chocolate shavings and marshmallows.
Dress up your chocolate drink with things like chocolate shavings and marshmallows.

This is also why we developed the Four Senses of Chocolate; an extension of the different flavour possibilities that our Signature 66% dark chocolate drink is able to create with various accompaniments and flavours.

- Take a leaf from The Dark Gallery’s Sucre, which is a hot chocolate topped with white, dark and milk chocolate shavings which melt into the beverage and served with a homemade toasted marshmallow for dipping.

- Adding a little savoury note to a sweet rich beverage like hot chocolate also works well. The Dark Gallery’s savoury take on hot chocolate serves it with a head of cold cream cheese foam and a mini salted cheese stick on the side.

- The Dark Gallery’s Sangria is a cold chocolate drink enlivened with cold-pressed orange juice, a zesty classic pairing that cuts through the richness of the chocolate.

- For those who like things warm and spicy, The Dark Gallery’s chai-inspired Spice drink infuses aromatics like turmeric, star anise, ginger, cloves and a hint of black pepper.

Always had a burning question but not sure who to ask? Send in your questions to with 'Ask the Experts' in the title and we’ll help you find the answer.


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