Proper Hot Chocolate Recipe from an Expedition Chef

There’s never been a better time to make your own hot chocolate instead of a powder mix. Words :: Kieran Creevy // photo :: Lisa Paarvio.

Inspired by the exceptional hot chocolate drinks served in alpine mountain huts, this homemade hot chocolate is great for backcountry skiers and splitboarders as it delivers an injection of fast-acting carbohydrates and protein (depending on the milk used*) from simple yet high-quality food sources. Most, if not all, ingredients can be sourced from basic supermarkets.


Antioxidant- and anti-inflammatory–rich hot cocoa—not that we need an excuse to consume more chocolate. Photo: Lisa Paarvio


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This recipe offers three advantages over pre-made alternatives: higher quality ingredients; less plastic packaging waste per unit; and you can tailor the chocolate to suit your taste.

Homemade Alpine Hot Chocolate

Yields 1 serving.

Equipment for making on the hill or at a mountain hut/refuge:
Lightweight camping stove and small pot
Insulated cups
Wooden spoon for stirring
Grater or knife for shaving chocolate.

You can also make this at home in advance and carry in a good thermos.


50g, 80% dark chocolate, broken into chunks
250ml milk (e.g. cow, goat, oat, almond, hazelnut)
A few threads of saffron
Optional for decoration/garnish: square/shavings of chocolate and/or dried apple.

*If using nut milks, make sure they’re fortified. The calorie and nutrition breakdown will vary depending on your chosen milk.




Bring milk and saffron to a simmer in a saucepan or camping pot.
Add the chocolate, stirring until melted completely.
Pour into a mug and decorate with chocolate shavings/dried apple.

Kieran Creevy is an international expedition chef and mountain instructor. Article is excerpted from Below Zero° by Mountain Life