Also, they seem to be only for sale in Europe - any idea where I can get one in the US?
I know exactly what you mean. Let me make a phone call and I'll let you know here.
A friend is working on tracking down the name of the machine. What might be more practical for you at home is to get the kind of chocolate typically used. It's called Sipping Chocolate, and comes in many flavor combinations. Good cookware stores usually carry it. You can find some info here: http://www.caffedamore.com/sipping-chocolate.asp, and you can order it here: http://www.amazon.com/Bellagio-Sipping-Chocolate-Original-1-Ounce/dp/B000LKTD84
Hey thanks! I remember the bag from one of the cafes I visited - the brand of chocolate they use was called "Choc-issimo" but again, I can't find it anywhere in the US.
Looking forward to your reply with the name of the machine. :)
The Bellagio brand is very good. I'll pass along the name of the machine as soon as I can. I'll be in the store that uses it on Monday. Happy sipping!
I think the trick to that decadently thick hot chocolate is good chocolate (valrhona perhaps) and heavy cream. You could then add vanilla, spices, and maybe some milk to cut the richness of the cream. Not sure you need a special machine to get the effect.
Actually, I'd love to develop my own recipe. That's stage 2. :) The machine's purpose is to constantly move and heat the cocoa so that it doesn't develop a skin on top while you prepare and serve it.
Yes, now you can buy here for US. http://www.chocolatefountainonline.com/hot-chocolate-machines/
I don't know about a paddle, but a long time ago I made a Cuisine At Home recipe for Chocolate Sorbet (08/2004). I didn't like it. Boy was I upset. LOTS of good ingredients went into this. So, I decided to try it hot. Oh my, but it was delicious. so very tasty and thick and you could add Grand Marniere (or other enhancements), whipped cream (slightly frozen like the chef did in "Smilla's Sense of Snow"). As it was meant to be a sorbet, it kept for a very long time in the freezer. You don't need paddles. m
I'm not sure about Italy - but at least in Portugal & Spain, they use a small amount of corn starch to thicken the hot cocoa served in cafés and kiosks. They also use the paddle-stirring machines there, I believe its mostly to keep the mixture from congealing/getting an inconsistent thickness.
I made the Italian hot chocolate several years ago from cocoa powder, a small amount of sugar, whole milk and cream and arrowroot. It turned out extremely well.
Maedl - arrowroot seems like an excellent choice as a thickener, especially as hot chocolate doesn't really get all that hot so it shouldn't reduce the gelling power of the starch, and generally less is needed than cornstarch for the same volume.
Also - just realized this is a 4 year old thread revived...
Jan, yes, I had realized the post was long in the tooth, too, but the subject of chocolate is always so near and dear to my heart!