Friday, January 18, 2008
Drinking Chocolate Definition
Xocol-atl means bitter water in nahuatl. Traditionally chocolate was served as a cold drink, and it was considered the highest luxury for the mesoamerican peoples. Xocolatl was dearly valued by the ancients for they new that we are what we eat. It is not an accident that chocolate is known as the food of the gods, and that xocolatl was reserved as the highest pleasure or luxury- considered even more valuable and more useful than gold.
The froth on top of the chocolate drink, brought about by mixing, aerating, and the separating of cacao butter from the mixture, was and still is considered to be the best part of the drink.
Not only does a good chocolate drink taste wonderful, activate the taste buds and stimulate the sense of smell in a way that other drinks do not, it leaves you energized, feeling happy, and satisfied.
Drinking chocolate is differentiated from hot cocoa and other artificial drinks because it is made with whole cacao beans, and often times with shells as well. It is not over-refined, and it is still considered a whole food.
According to Oaxacan tradition, it is the shell that gives the drinking chocolate part of its froth, as well as part of its punch, since the shell is where much of the theobromae is held.
True drinking chocolates are more cacao than they are sugar, and are enjoyed bitter and strong as well as sweetened and finely flavoured.
Drinking chocolates can range in consistency from a truffle in a cup to a watery liquid that warms you up and keeps you going on a cold day.
For us the best drinking chocolates do not contain milk, although we do enjoy the occasional milk chocolate drink. For us the best chocolate drinks are frothy, served hot or served cold, served fresh, made with whole cacao beans and contain no added preservatives and no artificial flavours. Instead of milk we choose amaranth or corn or chia to thicken our cup, and instead of refined sugars we choose panela, agave nectar, or dehydrated organic cane sugar.
Finally, for us drinking chocolate, is about drinking chocolate together. It is about the spirit of conviviality that fills a room when people are drinking chocolate instead of beer or shots. It is akin to the chocolate houses of the 18th and 19th century, or the chocolate salons in France. Drinking chocolate is about breaking down the divide between artists and audience, producers and consumers, and more generally between strangers.
Drinking chocolate is the best way to get the virtues of a cacao that is not over-processed or overly diluted.
Our only recommendation is to use good water, to froth the chocolate with enthusiasm, and to serve the portions generously.
Some of our Favourite Drinking Chocolates:
-Vanilla Amaranth Chocolate
-Cinnamon Cappuccino Ciocolate
-Chili Bombas and Bullets
-Aztec Blood Chocolate