Chocolate Eugénie

This is named after Empress Eugénie, the Spanish wife of Napoleon III, who made chocolate a popular drink in France. It is still prepared and served this way at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz for the merienda. After the Spanish had introduced chocolate from the New World, they could not keep it a secret very long, and it soon found its way over the Pyrenees to Bayonne and Biarritz, where still today you will find some of the world’s best chocolatiers.


  • 2 pt / 1.15 l full-cream milk
  • 7 fl oz / 200 ml whipping or single cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 3 in / 7.5 cm stick of cinnamon or 2 blades of mace
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz / 340 g good-quality plain chocolate


Put the milk and cream with the spice, salt and pepper in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Break up the chocolate, put it in a bowl, and pour the milk over it. Stir until the chocolate has melted, and let it stand in a heated jug for a few minutes to infuse. Strain it into a heated jug, whisk to a froth, if you like, and serve. This is a very rich drink, to be served in small cups.