Once upon a time, my life involved fishing every week. Some of that fishing happened in Scotland, on January days so cold that a flask of something warm became less a luxury, more a life saver. One of my ghillies taught me to put whisky in my coffee, which I did, even if my Spey casting then became more like flag waving at the front of a parade.
Ever since, I’ve had a penchant for a hot, boozy drink and when I found a recipe for mulled wine with chocolate, I jumped. Take 750ml red wine, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 dried red chilli, 1 tsp ground mixed spice, 5 whole cloves, 100g caster sugar and 50g of Willie’s 100% Cacao Venezuelan Black chocolate (100% works here, don’t judge me; £5.99/180g). Warm up the wine and spices in a saucepan, then add the sugar and continue to warm until dissolved, then grate the chocolate into it and serve: it’s delicious. Conversely, if you fancy all this but not as a drink, try Linden’s Mulled Wine 69% Dark Chocolate (£6.50/85g).
Staying on the subject of alcohol and chocolate, Paul A Young has brought out a special limited-edition box using some excellent chocolate and Martini Riserva to make negroni truffles (they also contain gin; £15.50). They are spectacular and really, gloriously Bette-Davis-in-Baby-Jane-bitter with such a boozy bite, I felt quite untidy after eating two. They aren’t like the liqueur chocolates of yore, no liquid centre to mess up your Christmas jumper, so you can eat them while you wrap.
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