Garden-Fresh Hot Chocolate
Something crazy happened last week. We made chocolate milk from scratch. Like, GARDEN scratch.
My fella works with plants, and while he has never brought home a bouquet of flowers for me, he HAS brought me countless potted flowers, seedlings, the odd leafy green, and now, fresh chocolate pods (so I am NOT complaining.)
My first time eating chocolate off the tree was three years ago in Kauai, when we eloped (happy anniversary, my sweet!) so having it again was pretty exciting and special. Little did I know that we were going to save the seeds after sucking the white, astringent-tasting snot off of them, so that we could make our very own hot chocolate!
Yea, I said "white snot." Fresh chocolate tastes NOTHING like the processed bars and kisses we are all so familiar with. Chocolate grows on trees, and when the fruit is ripe, you can cut through the thick outer skin of the seed pod, to reveal the white, fleshy fruit inside. After sucking off the flesh, we placed our seeds inside a plastic bag on a warm, bright window sill, to ferment for a few days. I'm not clear on why we fermented them, but that was what my husband had heard needed to be done. Once fermented, we placed the seeds in a hot, dry pan, over medium high heat and toasted them until the seed skin charred, and they began to smell like roasted chocolate!
(I have to apologize for the poor photo quality. Frankly, I didn't think this experiment was going to work, so I used my antique iPhone to photograph this process!)
Once the chocolate seeds were roasted in the dry pan, they not only started to smell of chocolate, they had a nice shine to them when we began rubbing the outer skin off of them.
The roasted, shiny and skinless seeds went straight into the mortar from there!
We took turns grinding the seeds into a fine powder that tasted an awful lot like cocoa powder.
We kept grinding until the powder started to look like a damp paste.
We removed the paste from the mortar and placed it on a piece of marble. We used the pestle as a mini rolling pin and worked the paste until the oils were released, and the aroma of chocolate filled the room.
We were kind of astounded at how much the paste tasted like the unsweetened cocoa used in baking.
We let the chocolate sludge dry out a bit and scraped it into a small cup.
Then we added white sugar (to make it tasty!)
and some hot water to make a beverage!
With a small whisk, we did our best to aerate the drink.
Then added a bit of milk to taste. It was incredible how much it tasted like the Abuelita's Mexican Chocolate we drink at home.
In fact, it was so good, that this is the only remaining photo of the beverage.
Luckily, that IS an in-tact and ripe chocolate pod you see in the photo above. Since this initial batch of hot chocolate-making, we have sucked the fleshy seeds from that chocolate pod and are getting ready to make another round of home-grown chocolate milk! Who wants to come over and try some??