What Is Chocolate Gravy And How Do You Eat It?

You might be confused to see the words "chocolate" and "gravy" paired, as gravy usually refers to a thick, savory sauce. However, in some areas of the Southern U.S., you'll find a little-known concoction that blends the two to create a rich breakfast gravy perfect for pouring over your morning biscuits.

Chocolate gravy is a feature of traditional Appalachian cuisine and is most commonly found on breakfast tables in the Ozark and Appalachian Mountain regions. The dish is also known as "sopping chocolate," because biscuits are often used to "sop up" the sweet sauce.

Chocolate gravy may have originated from a trading link between the Tennessee Valley and Spanish Louisiana, which brought "Mexican-style breakfast chocolate to the Appalachians," according to the book, "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America". It may have also come from a time when many people in the South couldn't afford to eat sweet foods. So, they added cocoa powder to other staple pantry ingredients to create a breakfast treat that didn't break the bank.

How do you make chocolate gravy?

Traditional breakfast gravy is usually pale in color and made with pork sausage, milk, and flour, while chocolate gravy is made with cocoa powder plus butter, sugar, flour, and milk for a deep brown, sweet, and glistening sauce. Unsweetened cocoa powder adds the rich, chocolatey flavor, sugar brings the sweetness, and flour is added to thicken the sauce. Milk is then whisked in to create a smooth, pourable consistency. The final ingredient is butter, which is added at the end to give the gravy a glossy sheen.

Of course, every cook has their way of doing things, and many Southerners may have a family recipe that has been passed down through generations. Some recipes include a dash of vanilla to enhance the sweetness of the gravy, while others may add a little instant coffee to bring out the flavor of the chocolate. A pinch of salt can also be added to balance the sweetness and accentuate the intense chocolatey-ness of the cocoa powder.

What to pair with chocolate gravy for a decadent breakfast

In true Southern style, the most traditional way to eat chocolate gravy is with buttermilk biscuits. These are a classic Southern baked breakfast food, traditionally served with gravy or eaten as a sweet dish with butter and jam or honey — or drizzled with sweet sorghum syrup. Warm fluffy biscuits pair perfectly with chocolate gravy for a decadent breakfast. The biscuits can be split in half or crumbled into pieces before the gravy is poured over, allowing the chocolate gravy to seep into the tender bread. Some recipes suggest mixing in some pieces of crumbled bacon near the end of cooking for a sweet and savory hit.

However, it doesn't end there. Chocolate gravy can be eaten in many other ways. For another chocolate-filled breakfast, spread chocolate gravy on toast, or try drizzling it over pancakes, waffles, or French toast instead of classic maple syrup. It can also be used as a sauce to pour over ice cream, cake, and other desserts, and it's also a great dipping sauce for fruit or churros.