January 27, 2009

Submarino–an Argentinean Hot Chocolate


It's a gray, rainy day in Mendoza.  Unseasonably cold for March, the overcast sky offers a preview of what's to come in the next months.  Our breath hangs in the air in front of us, like smoke cigarettes of so many passing  Argentinos,  as if hoping that roll of tobacco will warm them.

Though it showers sporadically, the day never improves.  The cobblestones of Mendoza's peotonal (pedestrian mall) are slick and dark with rain.   Low clouds make us want to stay inside under the covers, but with a toddler, this is impossible.  So we trudge out to Bonafide, Argentina's famed coffee chain, and head to the upstairs lounge overlooking the mall.  Low leather couches seat student types, one long-haired blond totes a guitar.  They huddle in groups, chatting, staving off the cold with hot coffee and the warm words of their flirtations.  The picture windows along the top floor give a bird's eye view of the peotonal–it would be the perfect place to people watch. 

But one couple, obviously young and  in love, wrapped in scarves and wool coats, have their back to the view.  What they are so focused on, (other than gazing at each other) is the perfect liquid warmth of the cups sitting in front of them. 

"What is that they're drinking?"  I ask Guillermo, trying not to point at the pair too obviously. 

"Those are submarinos!"  he says with a grin.  "We drank those all the time as kids!"

He couldn't explain fast enough.

"It's hot milk, served with a bar of chocolate on the side.  Dark chocolate–it has to be dark chocolate!"  he insisted.  "That's the submarine!  Then you take the submarine and you sink it!  The chocolate melts, and you have hot chocolate.  That's what they're drinking.  Submarinos."

Describing it, Guillermo was transformed back into the excitable five year old who once enjoyed them on a cold day.  And we sat, nestled as two and a half could be, indulging in our own submarinos while it rained away outside. 


Submarinos–Argentinean Hot Chocolate

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is winter right now, this recipe will have real appeal.  (Especially if you have a toddler!)  Make as soon as possible and warm yourself up. 

One mug of hot milk

portion of a bar of high-quality dark chocolate (I used Green and Black's)

To make the submarino:

Heat the milk to a drinkable temperature that's also warm enough to melt the chocolate.  Insert the chocolate bar into the hot milk.  Sink the submarine!  And stir until the chocolate has melted and is incorporated into the milk.  Enjoy with child-like glee.


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12 Responses to “Submarino–an Argentinean Hot Chocolate”

  1. Mmmm… I could use this on a day like this — cold, snow, sleet and rain. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. This reminds me of the Submarino at the touristy Café Tortoni in Buenos Aires. One of the “usual” stops when visitors came to town. The delicious chocolate is crafted in the shape of a submarine. Hmmm… I am feeling like a submarino right now with the cold and ice looming outside!

  3. “Submarinos”. I forgot we called hot chocolate like that. Mmm…to many years away from home.
    Thanks for bringing back great memories.

  4. I fit all of the qualifications for enjoying this hot chocolate. I take that as a sign I should make some…now.

  5. What fun! Great story!

  6. My aunt has often talked about this drink. It looks lovely. I’m going to have to make some soon.
    I’ve loved all you empanada posts.

  7. Great story, I also enjoy drinking chocolate like that, chocolate bar in hot milk, I love it! eheh, what a discovery I’ve done! You in Argentina call it submarino! From now on I’ll call it submarino! Thnks. kiki

  8. It’s a chilly, blustry, rainy day here in San Francisco, and I’m mildly despondent over some news that may derail the sale of our condo. I think this is the perfect cure. Maybe, with a shot of bourbon. 😉

  9. this was one of my fav drinks while in argentina. love the story.

  10. Does anyone know where to get the glass submarino glass with a removable metal base that they use in BA? Much appreciated.

  11. I just had a submarino for the first time, this weekend in Buenos Aires. I stumbled upon it at a restaurant by accident and LOVED it!!!

  12. I love this! I used my left over pesos to buy the little bars of chocolate at the corner grocery stands in BA.

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