There's hot chocolate, and then there's hot chocolate. This is the latter: a thick, rich, velvety cup of chocolate that feels and tastes like the very essence of decadence. It takes more time and effort than your average cup of stir-milk-into-powder cocoa, but it's well worth it. On a day when the fog is creeping up the cliffs to envelop the house--I can now barely see the vegetable garden only 100-150 feet below the house, and through the skylight I can see only the tiniest hints of blue sky--there is nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cup of drinking chocolate.
A few notes on the ingredients: it calls for whole milk, but frankly, I think you can use skim (if you so desire) and not lose much of the velvety richness. We used skim this morning, and I had no complaints. Don't feel that you need to spring for bottled water, either--good tap water will be perfectly sufficient. As for the chocolate, if you're going to run the hot chocolate through a blender or use an immersion blender on it, I don't think it's worth the trouble to shave the chocolate with a serrated knife. Chop it up finely, and it won't have any trouble being adequately melted and blended. If you plan to hand-whisk it, though, I might suggest making sure the chocolate is chopped very finely.
A final note: if you haven't yet read Jeffrey Steingarten's side-splittingly funny It Must Have Been Something I Ate, I wholeheartedly recommend that you pick up a copy. It's written in self-contained vignettes, good for the busy reader or foodie, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.