–“Gentleman Prefer Blondes” (with apologies to Joseph Fields and Anita Loos)
Yet another reason to love Fall- cider, mulled wine, and even better it’s almost cocoa season.
Cocoa ain’t just for kids- we spike it with liqueurs, top it with unsweetened whipped cream, stir in some cinnamon and a touch of chili powder, make it with whole milk and dark, bitter, dutch-processed goodness. It’s good first thing in the morning, it’s luxury after a cold day outside. It’s just the right thing for a sweet tooth that shouldn’t be satisfied with a wedge of cake or a pint of ice cream. It soothes the throat, warms the belly and not even Starbucks can screw it up. In fact, they’ll add a shot of orange or cherry and take it up a notch. Bam! Gotta love cocoa.
The Aztecs drank it frothy and cold with a touch of wine or chilis. Cocoa beans were currency to them- they recognized the value of a good thing, apparently. Cortez is the one who brought cocoa to Spain where they kept it to themselves, greedy buggers. In the 18th century chocolate houses became trendy in London. The Brits added milk to the thick chocolate beverage and drank it after dinner. In the mid-18th century the Dutch, bless their tulip-loving little wooden shoes, invented cocoa powder. Then in 1876 some bright soul came up with milk chocolate so that people could nibble the sweet stuff rather than sipping it. Good, but cocoa still rules.
The last few holidays I’ve been given cocoa- from choxie chocolate mocha drinking chocolate from Tarzhe, Nestle Abuela, Lake Champlain all natural mocha, Caffe de’ Amore Mexican spiced cocoa and Harry London peppermint hot chocolate. All I have to say is, d*g bless Harry London, a Canton, Ohio-based company that produces delicious chocolates.
Most cocoas are a pale brown powder that sits on the top of whatever liquid you’re blending it with, requiring a stirring frenzy to blend it in. The lovely folks at Harry London make a cocoa you could sprinkle on desserts or eat by the spoonful. As it says on the can it’s made up of “chocolate shavings infused with peppermint oil.” Is that poetry or what?
I don’t believe in using hot water for cocoa. Milk tastes better and since I can only prepare it with milk at home, cocoa is more of a treat. After all, if the stuff in the packets were any good then no one would drink it any other way. It is recommended that Harry London cocoa be prepared with milk on the stove- they advise against nuking, likely because you need to stir the milk so that the shavings of chocolate melt evenly without scorching.
The scent of peppermint gives your senses a definite lift and the chocolate is subtle yet rich and delicious. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but Harry London cocoa tastes better. Either way, you won’t want to share.
In case you do want to spread a little Harry London love, and you can’t make it out to Canton to get some for yourself, their site allows you to shop online.