Friday, October 10

Chocolate Saves the Day....Always

Blonde hair, blue eyes, general stubbiness of figure, and a propensity for hypochondria are a few things I have received through genetics. Love of dark, hot, delicious, bold, black coffee is among those things as well.

Any family gathering, the tea kettle is constantly whistling to keep the coffee flowing. It is hot, taken black, and consumed at an alarming rate. For the record there are a couple (married in--I'm just sayin') who take it with cream and sugar. Nonetheless, they enjoy a fine cup of coffee.

Prior to coming to Mexico I would look at one of those little maps with the symbols for different regional products and salivate over all the little coffees dotting Oaxaca. I was going to be close to some prime coffee dots and enjoy every minute of it.

Devastation, thy name is Nescafé. It's practically flowing in the streets, with lots and lots of sugar. Belh. It's like it had a hostile take over and forced all real coffees out. All those delicious coffee symbols I dreamt about are not being sold or drunk here, but, you, my friends to the north, are apparently getting it all. So enjoy it, please, because I am not.

Amidst my struggles with all the sweet, hot sewage around (and the pounding headache I get if I avoid it), I have found something sweet and hot that has salvaged my faith in Mexico's hot beverages. Maybe even salvaged my faith in Mexico. Hot chocolate. Please don't insult this hot chocolate by picturing that powder with the bunny. The chocolate here is real chocolate with hints of nuts and cinnamon.

Mayordomo, a little chocolate shop here, has a variety of chocolate mixed with vanilla, almonds, cinnamon, hazelnuts or combinations of several of these and it is delicious. It comes in little squares and looks like a gritty Hershey's bar that you plop right into some milk, heat, stir and enjoy.

Nothing can beat a hot chocolate like this on a chilly, rainy day.
For those of you who don't have the luxury of a Mayordomo, I've tried to come up with a delicious substitute based on chocolate daydreams and a recipe from
Bon Appetit, March 2004.

6 cups of milk (the fattier the better)
7 cinnamon sticks, broken
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Combine milk, cinnamon, and sugar in a medium saucepan, simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon sticks, add cocoa and extract of your choice. Return to low heat and simmer. Stir until blended. Serves six or one with a large thirst for chocolate and a rainy afternoon to kill.

Bon Appetit calls for a lot more spices (cardamom, cloves, nutmeg...) and has you steep them in the milk for 20 minutes before adding the cocoa. I prefer a simpler more instantly gratifying approach, but alter it as your patience and spiciness demands. I'm a firm believer in altering everything to your own taste, so play around with it. I think it would be delicious with a little cayenne pepper.

If you happen to be in a bout of significant laziness, heat some milk and throw in a quality chocolate bar. Green and Black's Organics make one called "Mayan Gold" that has a strong chocolate percentage and hints of cinnamon and orange. Mmm.

One last chocolate-related item: There is a contest, "The Chocolate Adventure Contest," where you make up a recipe with Scharffen Berger chocolate and an "Adventure Ingredient." It's pretty fun to brainstorm and come up with different stuff and you may just win $5000. So if you don't have a large tin of cocoa around the house, you better get to the store.

No comments:

Post a Comment