Here’s the recipe for making a real chocolate beverage. Important steps are in boldface.
- 1-2kg (2-4pounds) of cocoa beans.
- A manually operated grinder.
- Sift through the beans removing any impurities (pieces of grass, leaves, etc).
- Place the beans in a pan (no teflon) and roast them. Stir frequently. As the beans roast they start making “pop” sounds like popcorn. Beans are ready when you estimate that approx 50-75% of the beans have popped. Do not let the beans burn, though a bit of black on each bean is ok.
- Peel the beans. Peeling roasted cocoa beans is like peeling baked potatoes: The hotter they are the easier it is to peel the darn things, at the expense of third degree burns on your fingers. (Tip: Use kitchen mittens and brush the beans in your hands). If the beans are too hard to peel roast them a bit longer.
- Grind the beans into a pan. They produce a dark oily paste called “cocoa paste”.
- The oil in the cocoa has a bitter taste that you have to get used to. I like it this way, but not all people do. Here are the alternatives:
With oil, which gives you a richer flavour:
Spread aluminum foil on a table and make small pies of chocolate, about 1/4 of an inch high, and 6 inches in diameter. Let them rest overnight. The morning after they are hard tablets. Remove them from the aluminum foil and rap them in it. Store in the freezer.
Without oil, some flavour is gone, less bitter, weaker (whimper) chocolate:
Put the paste inside a thin cloth (like linen), close the cloth and squeeze until the oil comes out. If you manage to get most of the oil out, what is left is high quality cocoa powder, like Droste’s.
What is left now is either bitter tablets or bitter cocoa powder.
You can now make a nice beverage as follows:
- Boil a liter of milk (or water, like in ancient Mexican style. Like water for chocolate, “Como agua para chocolate”: you know).
- When the milk is warm (not hot) add a chocolate pie in pieces. Stir with a blender (but be careful! the blender’s electric cord should NOT touch the pot or any other hot thing around it).
- When the chocolate has dissolved add 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar (depending how sweet you like your chocolate) and blend in fast. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved in the chocolate otherwise it would be bitter no matter how much sugar you may add afterwards.
- Add a teaspoon of cinnamon or natural vanilla flavour (artificial vanilla flavour with chocolate results in an awful medicine like flavour) if you like, and blend again.
- Let the mixture boil, when it starts to get bubbly quickly remove the pan from the stove top, and rest the bottom against a soaked cloth. Put again on stove top, it should get bubbly almost immediately, remove once again and repeat one last time. This aerates the chocolate which enhances flavour.
- In a mug, put about 1/2-3/4 of the chocolate mixture, and add cold milk, until the temperature and/or the concentration of the flavour is right for your tastes. Accompany with French Pastries. Yum Yum!!