There’s nothing like holding a mug of hot chocolate in hands still thawing after a winter surf or bracing walk. For over 20 years, the Extreme Hot Chocolate has been an integral part of the Watergate Bay winter experience. We take a closer look and share the recipe for a new heart-warmer.
Mountains, beach or city ice rink; post-hike, surf or laps – hot chocolate has become synonymous with warming body and rewarding spirits after exertion in the cold.
It hasn’t always been this way. The warm, sweet drink we know and love has evolved from colder, spicier origins: the Mayans used to drink xocolatl (bitter water) made with crushed cocoa beans, cornmeal and chilli pepper. By the 17th and 18th centuries, it had made its way to London’s expensive hot chocolate houses, where wealthy socialites enjoyed it warm, with the addition of sugar and milk.
When Henry Ashworth opened the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay in 1999, he created the Extreme Hot Chocolate – which became an instant hit with surfers and kitesurfers straight from the sea, dog walkers, and families coming to the Bay for a blast of fresh air in the autumn and winter months.
“It’s what the Beach Hut is famous for,” says Christina Knight, Watergate Bay’s F&B operations manager. “I used to run the Beach Hut, and would see the same faces coming to Watergate Bay each year; see the children growing up, but they’d always ask for them each time they came on holiday, ‘Do you still do the Extreme Hot Chocolates?’
“We’ve changed the recipe ever so slightly, but it hasn’t lost the excitement,” Christina continues, explaining how today’s Mint Extreme Hot Chocolate includes UHT cream, mint chocolate discs and cream mint coins on top. “I think everyone looks forward to a hot chocolate, with squirty cream and some special extras on top.”
Almost a generation later, the Extreme Hot Chocolate lives on. While The Beach Hut’s hot chocolate menu has evolved around the idea of making hot chocolate a dessert (think Tiramisu or Black Forest Gateau – see below), this enduring classic is still ready and waiting once hat, gloves or wetsuit are off.
250ml milk of your choice
25g chocolate powder
25g UHT aerosol cream
25ml cherry liqueur
25g dark chocolate sauce
1. Heat the milk, add chocolate powder and stir well making sure the chocolate has melted
2. Pour the cherry liqueur into your favourite mug, followed by the hot chocolate.
3. Swirl cream on top, finish by drizzling dark chocolate sauce over the cream, top with cherries.