Don’t pitch your next empty spice bottle. Instead, fill it with unsweetened, chocolate cocoa powder. There’s a world of experimentation out there for this big, yet mellow, tangy, musky, dense flavor of chocolate in more of our dinnertime dishes.
Chocolate had its beginnings with the Aztecs in Mexico around 1544. Later, a group of Mayans from Guatemala took gifts of chocolate to Spain. In their moles, Mexicans ritually combined bitter chocolate with chiles, onions, garlic, tomato, sesame seeds, almonds, corn tortillas, raisins, clove, cinnamon, coriander, olive oil and chicken broth.
The New World, however preferred its chocolate in the sweet dessert zone, in candies, cakes, cookies and brownies. Their recipes generally contained melted chocolate or dry cocoa powder with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, a liquid, baking soda and vanilla, rather than spices.
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, especially the darker chocolates. White chocolate, which is mostly fat and sugar, is considered least nutritious. Continue reading →
Right now, around our place, we think jalapeno bacon dipped into warm, homemade dark chocolate ganache is the best chocolate treat we can make. In our culture chocolate is just beginning to show up in savory dishes. Try a few shakes of unsweetened cocoa powder in the next beef stew you make for more depth of flavor.
Chocolate has been linked to love for centuries. The Aztec king, Montezuma, had no problem drinking 50 golden goblets a day of the early bitter stuff. Though chocolate had its beginnings in Mexico, it is pretty much a European thing these days and began appearing there in 1544 when a group of Mayans from Guatemala took gifts of chocolate to Spain.
Some of Europe’s leading chocolate brands today:
Schladerer Chocolate, German
Bernard Castelain, French
Cote D’Or, Belgian Chocolate
Amedei Italian Chocolate
Callebaut, Belgian Chocolate
Valrhona French Chocolate
Lindt Swiss Chocolate Continue reading →
Adding chocolate to a dish adds a rich depth of flavor and a great contrast of sweet and savory. It’s just cooks in the U.S. are a bit behind the times, at least 2,000 years behind the Aztecs and the … Continue reading →