Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cocoa & Chocolate. Hot & Cold Drinks. Add Alcohol Anybody?

The cocoa bean is one of the most exquisite beans of the world. As a fine aromatic bean, its full-bodied flavor and a floral aroma are some of its delectable qualities. Winter is the best season to experiment with both chocolate and cocoa – Hot and Cold, Alcoholic and Non Alcoholic. Organic Dark Cocoa with our without alcohol is still brilliant as a health food.
Read on for recipes and more..

The Maya harvested the cacoa crops and then they roasted them sometime in the late 1300. Those crops were the very first fresh cacao beans we now know that humans ate. The Aztecs adopted cacao. By 1400, the Aztec empire ruled a part of Mesoamerica. The Aztecs also had bitter chocolate drinks, that we now know were the very first ‘Chocolate Drinks”. The chocolate was bitter because sugar was not owned by the Mesoamericans during the time of when cacao was discovered. Drinking chocolate beverages was an important part of Maya and Aztec life.
  • Here is a really great place to buy your Cocoa this winter… eSutras Organics 
    Don’t forget to use 
    ESAB to get 20% OFF on your purchase… 
However it was not long later, when we discover – cacoa was fermented or made alcoholic !! In the Mayan society, the royal people would drink the chocolate beverages during specials events while the “regular” people barely drank any because it was to expensive. This seems to reflect the early history of cacao serving and drinking in ceremonies that took place at celebrations of marriages, births, and other occasions created by social ties.

Chemical analyses of residues extracted from pottery vessels from Puerto Escondido in what is now Honduras show that cacao beverages were being made there before 1000 B.C., extending the confirmed use of cacao back at least 500 years earlier than we thought. The famous chocolate beverage served on special occasions in later times in Mesoamerica, especially by elites, was made from fermented cacao seeds. The earliest cacao beverages consumed at Puerto Escondido were likely produced by fermenting the sweet pulp surrounding the seeds.

The distinctive Mesoamerican style of cacao preparation involved fermenting cacao seeds (or “beans”), drying them, optionally toasting them, grinding them, and mixing them with water in a thick bitter suspension. Invading Europeans came to appreciate this beverage (chocolatl in the language of the Aztecs), giving rise to the modern chocolate industry.

 Europeans took the secret of chocolate making to their own countries (Spain was first); it was Europeans who first sweetened chocolate and flavored it in ways that appeal to our modern palates. Since then, chocolate making has been an important part of the cultures of many of these European countries — obviously, the Swiss, the Belgians and the French, but also the Germans and Italians, to some extent. It is a matter of tradition and culture, but also of finance, and probably some secret techniques in blending, roasting, etc.

This may explain why the world still regards chocolate as a luxury food, and why chocolate is scarce in Asia. But hey – winter is round the corner, fire up the fire place and snuggle with these delicious treats…

Irish Tumbler
 1 oz Irish cream 1 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur amaretto almond liqueur 6 oz hot chocolate Pour kahlua and irish cream into a heatproof cup with hot chocolate. Add amaretto, to taste. Stir, and serve. A delicious taste from the middle of the world right to your hands.

Mexican Coffee
1 oz Tequila 1 oz Kahlua Fill a cup w/ hot coffee. Garnish w/ whipped cream.

Jamaican Coffee
1 oz Light rum 1 oz Tia Maria or kahlua Fill your cup w/ hot coffee. Garnish w/ whipped cream

 After Dinner Mint
1/2 oz White creme de menthe 3/4 oz Peach liqueur 1/2 oz vodka 1 cup hot chocolate drink (make with good organic cocoa) Fill your cup w/ hot chocolate. Garnish w/ whipped cream

Hot Buttered Rum
2 oz Dark rum 1 oz Simple syrup Or 1 tsp Brown sugar 1/2 tablespoon hot cocoa powder. – Pinch of nutmeg – Fill your cup w/ hot water, stir in hot cocoa powder. Garnish w/ cinnamon stick and small floating pat of butter.

Here is a really great place to buy your Cocoa this winter… Cocoa Cravings  Don’t forget to use ESAB to get 20% OFF on your purchase…