Photos by Cara DiFabio, Words by Kiersten Utegg
February has arrived. Before we know it, we will be pushing our clocks forward in honor of spring. Temperatures will soon rise until our skin is no longer cracked and our goose bumps will fade away to reveal complexions paled by the north. Though the coming of spring is a joyous development for most people enduring the frigidness of winter, it's passing is bittersweet; we must say goodbye to a few things until next season. Snow pants, hats and gloves are stowed away as if we hide their existences as not to offend springtime in her blossoming hour. The one thing that I truly do dread putting away as winter ends is hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate warms even the coldest fingers and the scratchiest throats that winter throws our way. It is a heavenly respite from the biting unpleasantness outside. Hot chocolate by the fire, in the morning, in the evening, with water or with milk, with friends or with family; regardless of the way it is enjoyed, it manifests comfort. I prefer to make mine with milk so that it is rich, creamy and thick with molten chocolate flavor. I have two packs of hot chocolate left in my dorm room and I plan to use them wisely.
I also want to emphasize that I am saying “hot chocolate” and not “hot cocoa.” Did you know that there is a difference? Hot cocoa is a powder of chocolate granules and sugar that combine to form a sweet chocolaty flavor. Hot chocolate, however, is made of actual chocolate flakes that must be melted in a boiling liquid to form a thick substance that resembles melted chocolate more than it does a beverage.
You only need a small amount of hot chocolate because it is so rich. The density cups your lips as you sip the chocolate liquid. The smoothness seems to coat every inch of your mouth, seeping into your taste buds and effortlessly emitting a luxurious taste. Sipping hot chocolate is like a trip to the spa. It takes preparation and even a little wait time, but then, once you are experiencing it, every minute seems longer, more tasteful and more relaxing than the last.
The tranquility brought on by hot chocolate can best be experienced in the winter, when all else seems frigid. Though many people, I being one of them, drink hot chocolate all year long, the certain effect it has on the soul only happens during the colder months. Hot chocolate will always taste good, but wintertime is when it flourishes. I urge you to enjoy it in this way while you still can.
It is almost warm weather's time to come out of hibernation and serve our human needs. So, with the passing of the snow and the cold and the grey landscapes, hot chocolate peace hibernates. Spring is on the horizon, which means the welcoming to so many happy things such as the beach, tanning, bike riding, bathing suits, a break from classes and more time for friends. As much happiness as all of those things give me, I admit that I will long for the day when the bitter cold of winter engulfs me once more and hot chocolate truly comes to the rescue.