Tucson has many places to indulge in warm sipping delicacies. However, as a special treat I like to visit The Cup Café, located inside of Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson.
In my opinion, The Cup Café has many facets to it. First of all, you access the café entrance through The Hotel Congress lobby, which imparts a vintage/historic quality to the café.
The café embodies a feeling of quaintness and charm mixed with funky and fabulous (all the while offering a wide scale menu, including fine dining and renowned desserts). You can sit out on the patio or sit inside and feel an unusual times past vibe.
I love to find myself alone or with friends, seated at a little table right in this space...
In the past few years I have become an avid coffee drinker, and while I prefer my coffee served black-
I love the cappuccinos at The Cup and will indulge in one whenever possible. Frothy, hot, smooth goodness...
And while you sip, you can sit around and read saying on the wall...
However, if I am feeling extra naughty and long for a hot sip-able dessert -
Now, if you would like to create you very own decadent hot perfect for chilly nights sip-able dessert chocolate in the privacy of your own home, than I have just the idea for you.
If you make your hot chocolate at home with milk (say 3 cups of milk or so), try popping a vanilla bean into your milk before cooking. Then cook your milk to just below boiling (about 5-6 minutes at medium heat).
Remove the vanilla bean from your milk and scrape out the seeds from inside of the bean, stirring the seeds back into your milk still in the saucepan. Then, let the seeds sit in the milk to infuse it with flavor, covering it for about 10 minutes. Then add your chocolate however you normally do. If you use syrup, turn your flame on to a low heat and add the syrup to the milk mixture, stirring until the chocolate is fully blended.
If you prefer using block chocolate, I like to melt my block chocolate in 1 cup of milk (amount of chocolate to taste 3-5 oz.) in a separate saucepan, while my milk infuses with my vanilla bean seeds in a separate saucepan. Then I combine both mixtures after I have infused the milk for ten minutes in one saucepan and the chocolate has melted in another stirring until well blended. Top with cream and freshly grated cinnamon.
A vanilla bean is a simple way to take your hot chocolate to a whole other level of deliciousness.
PS. Olive apologizes for the variety of fonts in this post... She is tempted to retreat to pen and ink!