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Do you add cheese to your hot chocolate?

In Colombia, hot chocolate con queso is a traditional comfort food across the country.  'Con queso' literally translates to 'with cheese'. Hot chocolate is to Colombia what tea or coffee are to us, so it's a really social beverage, most families making warm cups of cacao with breakfast every day. When Colombians are looking to elevate their already beloved hot chocolate, they add a chunk of cheese to the bottom of the cup.

Now that might seem strange, but believe us, the creamy, salty, mild cheese really works with the sweet, smooth hot chocolate.  Colombian hot chocolate is made from real chocolate and hot milk, with spices like cinnamon and cloves. Traditionally, the chocolate and milk is mixed with a bulbous bottomed wooden 'whisk' called a molinillo, inside a big hot chocolate pot called a Colombian olleta.  The hot chocolate is brought to a boil in the olleta over a high heat, it's then served in mugs and the cubed cheese, normally queso campesino, is dropped into the hot chocolate as it's served. Campesino is a mild, young cheese, normally made by artisan producers.  It's semi firm, smooth and it has a good melting consistency, most comparable to firm mozzarella.  

If you're looking to try making hot chocolate con quesa at home here in the UK, we recommend adding a few cubes of pizza mozzarella (not the type sold in water) to your mug of hot chocolate so that it begins to melt in the bottom!

In the absence of a mollinillo or an olleta, we'd recommend making a milk hot chocolate for one in your hot chocolate shaker, remember to add a dash of cinnamon before pouring over your cubed cheese!

To shake:

To serve:

  • a matchbox sized chunk of firm mozzarella

Find another recipe for Hot Chocolate Con Queso and the source of the featured image here.

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