Did you know that February is National Chocolate Lovers’ Month?

Choco-Cinnamon Popsicle Hot Chocolate

Choco-Cinnamon Popsicle Hot Chocolate

I am here to confirm with you that it is. In addition, if you still haven’t received your chocolate fix for the season I will also share with you some original hot chocolate recipes from my friend, Amara Barroeta, from Amara Chocolate & Coffee that she created after teaming up with the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), creator of the iconic got milk? campaign.

Would you be surprised if I told you that my fiancé and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at Barroeta’s Pasadena-based Amara Chocolate & Coffee shop?

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I hope you are not surprised because we are not fans of going on a fancy date that day because you end up spending twice or triple the amount of money on a dinner than any other day and you end up eating what is cooked for the masses so our outing thanks to Got Milk? and Amara Chocolate & Coffee was perfect.

While we were there we saw visitors from all ages from newborns to elderly couples enjoying their cups of coffee on that sunny morning. It’s a quaint place, but feels as if you were at home. The owner was there and she greeted everyone as if they were part of her familia.

With the warm weather fast approaching on us her in So. Cal. it would be uncomfortable to sip on some hot chocolate so you have the option of making your beverage cold and that’s exactly what we did. We had the Choco-Merida “cold” (dark Chocolate and milk).

“While developing these hot chocolates, I took inspiration from chocolate’s beginnings and revisited some of the original ingredients. I’m really excited about the results, especially because each drink is so different, yet all have the perfect silky texture and flavor you can only get by using milk,” adds Barroeta. Amara’s experience and travel has awarded her the ability to combine flavors from all over the world and bring them together in each one of her delectable creations.

Creamy Peanut Butter-Coconut Dream

Creamy Peanut Butter-Coconut Dream

Now more than ever, chocolatiers are giving us a lot to look forward to with the craft chocolate trends that is taking the chocolate world by storm. To develop original and exciting hot chocolate recipes that are guaranteed to capture your eyes and hearts this month Barroeta’s delicious, milk-based recipes range from a Mexican Choco-Latte with dry chile pasilla to a Popcorn Crowned Orange Hot Chocolate with orange peel and caramel popcorn. These recipes are inspired by chocolate’s history and the craft chocolate trend.

This warming, filling and satisfying drink has never gone out of style, and milk has always been the go-to base for the perfect cup. Milk has the ability to tone down spices, balance sweetness and harmoniously bring together ingredients to achieve extraordinary flavors. A quality hot chocolate requires pure and natural ingredients – from the cacao bean to the base. “I always use milk for my hot chocolates because it gives them the richness and creaminess I’m looking for,” said Barroeta.

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She continues to practice her craft daily, making everything from delicate handmade pastries to truffles, fondues and sipping chocolates – all made with imported Venezuelan chocolate.

While we visited this cozy chocolate and coffee café situated on busy Raymond Avenue in Pasadena we couldn’t pass the opportunity to indulge in the delicious “La de Pabellon Arepa.” This type of food is a white corn flatbread, born in Venezuela. To top it off we also pleased our palate with freshly-made churros and dipped them in three different sauces; freshly-made guava marmalade, chocolate and “dulce de leche” and if that wasn’t enough the churros were topped with Vanilla and Pistachio ice cream! YUMMY!

Watch Barroeta at work here:

Guests that visited Amara Chocolate & Coffee on Valentine’s Day were able to select from delectable options: Aztec-Latte (chile pasilla, dark chocolate, expresso and milk), Choco-Merida (dark Chocolate and milk) or Venezuelan (rich, sipping hot chocolate).

Mexican Choco-Latte

Mexican Choco-Latte

More: 

With an eclectic background as a chemical engineer, a former Miss Venezuela contestant and now an expert chocolatier, Amara Barroeta is a talented entrepreneur who is quickly making a name for herself in the world of chocolate. She first discovered her passion for chocolate working with Pastry Chef Pascal Chérancé, in Caracas, Venezuela, known by many as the “mecca of chocolate”. After traveling the world and being inspired by different cultures, Amara began to create her own recipes which culminated in making her dream of opening her own chocolate shop a reality in 2012 with “Amara Chocolate & Coffee.”

Her chocolate career hit a high note in 2015, when Amara attended the International Chocolate Awards in Germany and came back a winner. Her famous chocolate was awarded the bronze prize in the category of Drinks and Dark Chocolate.

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The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. Awareness of got milk? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history. Got milk? is a federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy boards since 1995. The CMPB’s Spanish-language campaign began in 1994 using the tagline “Familia, Amor y Leche” (Family, Love and Milk). The toma leche (Drink Milk) campaign replaced it in 2006, in order to better align the English and Spanish language work. The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Popcorn Crowned Orange Hot Chocolate

For all of Amara’s hot chocolate recipes, created exclusively for got milk?
Visit: www.gotmilk.com and follow got milk?

Via social media:

Facebook / Twitter @gotmilk and Instagram @officialgotmilk.
Don’t forget to use the #ChocolateLovesMilk

IMG_1046Partial Text and Photo Credit: RL Public Relations

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