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One French word: à l’ancienne, a French recipe: chocolat chaud à l’ancienne

Here in Quimper we have a lively cultural season, especially in winter, incuding a series of solo concerts which are entitled “Concerts au chocolat”. We also have one of the best chocolatiers  in France (check out their website, they deliver all over the world). They come to the concert and serve us a cup of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne, and a little saucer with two beautiful chocolates. Their chocolat chaud is thick, rich and creamy, and very hot. Their chocolates are mouthwatering.

 The French language bit:

A l’ancienne (invariable adverbial phrase) = old-style, old-fashioned, traditional (pronounced a laan syenne, one hardly hears the first n at all), 

anything that is made as it was yesteryear, anything that tastes good just as it did in times gone by. It is always nostalgic: ex:  de la moutarde à l’ancienne (usually with whole mustard seeds), and is good marketing. The term is often used in recipes and cooking to denote traditional methods.

My recipe is a real chocolat chaud à l’ancienne = old-fashioned hot chocolate. Nothing like it.

Chocolat chaud à l’ancienne

For two people (two tea-cups) you will need:

  • 325 ml milk of full cream milk (not UHT please)
  • 35gr of dark chocolate squares (I got my cooking chocolate from the Comptoir du Chocolat, see link above)
  • 1 ½ tbs powdered drinking chocolate (slightly sweetened)
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground coriander
  • 1 heaped tbs of thick cream
  • some sweetened whipped cream and a little extra powdered chocolate



  1. In a saucepan which will not be damaged by a whisk, heat the milk with the dark chocolate, powdered chocolate and spices. It is important to use a whisk and not a spoon or a fork.
  2. Whisking vigorously all the time, melt the chocolate and heat the milk to nearly boiling.
  3. Add the thick cream and whisk again. The mixture should be frothy.
  4. Pour into pretty cups with pretty saucers (not old mugs) and top with whipped cream sprinkled with a little powdered chocolate.

I think you will quickly find you are in heaven. But a little goes a very long way.

Chocolat chaud

Chocolat chaud

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

13 responses »

  1. marshmallowfluffxo

    this hot chocolate looks really good.

  2. Ooh how absolutely yummee— I adore good chocolate and this looks delicious .
    Must try the Quimper chocolatier one day

  3. Caroline, looks like you are OK after “measuring your length” the other day. I am sure your chocolat chaud à l’ancienne is mouthwatering, because just your description is!
    My chocolate will be served in beautiful light blue cups (with saucers) from my childhood.

  4. We recently introduced our little GS to hot chocolate. Not like this, though, I think this is definitely for adults. I’m away for a few days, but I’ll be trying it when I get back.

  5. Definitely an adult version. To be sipped in small quantities, not glugged down leaving a broad moustache!

  6. Caroline, merci pour la recette, ça a l’air vraiment délicieux! Je viens de boire un chocolat chaud normal avec du cacao Ghirardelli… bon, mais rien à voir! Qu’il me manque, le VRAI chocolat français sans “corn syrup”, exclusivement avec du VRAI beurre de cacao. :)

  7. Anything with chocolate in it gets my vote – and I’m not a sweet-toothed person. But chocolate is different and this winter calls for something like chocolate chaud.

    • There’s nothing like it, is there? Peeling gloves of freezing hands and wrapping said hands around hot chocolate. That’s the first pleasure. Then being warmed from the inside by it.
      I shall be doing more chocolate recipes, I think they get everyone’s vote.

  8. Melville Petrosky

    I tried to go to the link you gave above, but my French is so sparse that I can’t figure out what to order. I want to order good Parisian chocolat to make this drink at my home, so what should I ask for and how much? A local cafe makes a lovely one, but I think they use 85% cocoa content.

  9. Oh my I am drooling.


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