Best hot chocolate in Hampshire

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As we have been unpacking and adjusting our travelling minds to living in one and the same place for a while again, I’ve been enjoying playing with different corners of our house. Creating spaces and atmosphere just with little bits and pieces of décor which have found their way out of the suitcase where they were put in six months ago back in Sydney. Producing sensations is almost as much fun outside of the kitchen as it is within. Almost!
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On Sunday we got back form beautiful Winchester markets. The morning had flown by marveling at this stunning ancient town which used to be the capital of England during King Arthur’s time, sipping a coffee and devouring a real French croissant where William the Conqueror’s Palace used to stand, chatting with local Hampshire producers and, to my delight, even finding some real homegrown eggs and raw milk! None of that stuff which is commercially produced, has had all the goodness taken out and never received the loving hormones which a cow would send to her calve. The real stuff. Bless those farmers who fight the ever tighter regulations’ edges and corners to be able to offer genuine produce, as nature intended, for the people seeking it. Thanks!
Now what did I make with the milk once all the bags and boxes were unpacked and I sat down for a well-deserved slender through the last pages of my latest cruising book? Something which turned out to be the best hot chocolate I ever had. Simple.
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Heat a cup of the milk which takes your fancy (raw, goats, coconut, nut…) with up to 100g dark, organic, fair trade chocolate. Add some slices of ginger, a few pods of cardamom, a cinnamon stick and about five cloves. Because I could feel a cold creeping up and felt like some extra richness, I also added a spoon of coconut oil. Optional. Stir while the chocolate is melting, breathe deeply, think slowly, wind down and relax. Then pour it into your favourite mug. Grab a book. Cuddle up on the sofa under a warm blanky and enjoy. Mmmh!

Ayurvedically milk is said to be nourishing to the brain and nerves, memory strengthening, tonic, rejuvenating, laxative, even aphrodisiac and also calming. It allows for concentration and meditation. However, it can weaken the digestive fire, especially in those people whose genetics don’t stem from a culture which has kept the milk-digesting enzyme over centuries of dairy consumption. Milk can help heal many ‘dry’ diseases such as dry cough or a dry throat. For the yogis among you, Vata types do well with it, as well as elderly, debilitated, convalescing, insomnia-sufferers and young children. Mind you, I don’t give my kids cow milk until they are well and passed their first year. Unfortunately milk has been given a bad reputation among natural food enthusiasts, but this is mainly due to the consequences of cows not being held the way they used to anymore. So watch out where you get yours from!

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