cup and candle

The ultimate chocolate milk.
J E Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2010

My pursuit of the perfect chocolate milk has a long history. Over the years in Singapore, I visited coffeeshops, kopitiams and cafés and ranked what I found as best, second and runners-up like best National, Most Photogenic, and one, well, for Congeniality.

Then a few years ago we visited the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London. I don’t know how you feel about modern art. Personally I have a difficult relation to it since I seem to be a bit overly sensitive to strong visual communication, or maybe I get distressed about people getting paid for pouring garbage on the floor, or spilling paint on a canvas.  Eitherway, my unfortunate disposition has also made me spend quite some time in various museum cafés when I need, hot chocolate.

Among these the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London has a special place in my heart. Their exhibitions are filled with visually strong pieces of art that could well emotionally pass as an alternative to one of those really insane roller coaster rides that tosses you upside down in mid-air and then eventually leave you hanging there head down due to some malfunction of the machinery. They are all there, Francis Bacon, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhole, you name it. A virtual crash course in mass communication and visualizations of strong and complicated ideas.

So, after a quick look around I made it to the café and in an attempt to make my stomach calm down I ordered a Hot Cup of Chocolate.

The place is called Café 2 and is actually a recent winner of the Time Out Eating & Drinking Award as the Best Family Restaurant. It is at Level 2, overlooking the Thames riverside.

Just across the Thames you can rest your eyes on the roof of the St Paul’s Cathedral, that was miraculously spared during the WWII blitz and a bit down the river is the London Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere and the one that inspired the building of the Singapore Slung, officially named the Singapore Flyer and currently the tallest in the World.

Suddenly the day was not completely lost, together with my lunch. Here it was. Hot chocolate, brilliant in its silky foamyness. Soft, sweet, full, rich in one word – prefect.

Three different chocolates are right now listed on their breakfast menu as “Handmade @ Tate”. Here you can have Manjari 64% Single Origin Madagascar (dark), Caraibe 66% West Indies Blend (dark) or Tanariva 33% Single Origin Madagascar (milk) at GBP 2.95 each. This one I had, since this was a few years ago, was made by adding Monbana Chocolate to foamed milk.

This is how to go about to recreate this masterpiece and indeed – do try this at home.


Add two generous tablespoons into 200 ml of full milk.


Whisk until fully dissolved but – very important – do not let the milk actually boil. If it does, the result will not have its full silky smoothness.


One way or another you will need a milk foamer, either a milk steamer or one of the same home types as the one uses for making latte.


When done, just add in the 100 extra foamed milk into the how chocolate.

foam and spoon

The original recipie did not prescribed a drop of wiskey but there are always room for improvements.

Well, there you are. My recipe to a perfect hot chocolate milk, a perfect lunch break and a perfect cold mid winter evenings pick me up.

Regarding the Tate Modern exhibitions, it’s great, but it has some pretty strong messages and concepts in there so maybe it deserves to be taken in, in small portions, with a few years in-between. A few other museums on my rather avoid list are MoMA and the Guggenheim in New York, all absolutely worth a visit however their chocolates are nothing near the Tate modern.

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