Finally, a Taste of Hot Chocolate

Despina's image

New Crowned Hope Festival Director Peter Sellars supervised this unusual production of Mozart's beloved comic opera, with the action transferred to a diner near the seashore sometime in the '50s. Courtesy DECCA Classics hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy DECCA Classics

Return to the Main Feature

During Mozart's time, hot chocolate was a drink only for the aristocracy. In his opera Cosi Fan Tutte, Despina, the maid, is incensed by the fact that she has never tasted the hot chocolate she must painstakingly prepare for her ladies. She stages a silent protest and decides to take a drink at last.

Cosi Fan Tutte, Scene 8

DESPINA
(Whipping the chocolate)
What a wretched life
A lady's maid leads!
From morning till night working,
Sweating and toiling, and after all
One's done there's nothing for oneself!
I've been beating this for half an hour,
And now the chocolate's ready; yet though my tongue's
Hanging out, must I just stand and smell it?
Aren't my tastes just like yours?
O dearest ladies, you have the substance
And I only the smell!
Damnit, I'm going to try it.
She tastes it
Delicious!
She wipes her mouth
Someone's coming!
Goodness, it's my ladies!


"Vienna's immortal Cafe Mozart, which opened just three years after the legendary composer's death in 1791, has always been a place where people come to stay warm." — Michael Turback, author

Recipe

* 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
* 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
* Pinch of salt
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* Basic whipped cream for serving
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* Basic whipped cream for serving

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the chocolates, sugar and salt. Process on high just until the chocolates are finely ground. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat to just under a boil. Add the chopped chocolate mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Pour into a china cup, top with softly whipped cream and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving

Reprinted with permission from Hot Chocolate © 2005 Michael Turback, published by Ten Speed Press

Books Featured In This Story

Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate

by Michael Turback

Paperback, 150 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Hot Chocolate
Author
Michael Turback

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.