A few years ago chocolate and chillies were not two foods I would have associated with one another, for one thing they are not even in the same taste group one is sweet and the other is hot. However as the saying goes opposites attract and for me a spicy hot chocolate drink is a delicious cold weather treat.
Almost all coffee shops, casual restaurants and even some bars serve their version of a spicy hot chocolate drink throughout winter and in some cases all year round.
More information on the history of hot chocolate is given at www.coracaoconfections.com. In brief hot chocolate drinks with chili peppers are thousands of years old. Spicy hot chocolate is thought to have been discovered by the Olmec culture that lived in Mexico around a 1000 BC. The Mayan culture then continued the tradition of harvesting and creating their own coco paste to which water, spices, herbs and flowers were added.
I will admit when I make hot chocolate at home I do it from store bought packets. One of my favorite companies is Nib Mor an organic ethically traded hot chocolate brand I buy at WholeFoods. I heat a cup of milk and whip the chocolate powder into the warm milk. However, when I want to treat myself and desire something more decadent I go to Vosages Haut-Chocolate in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Vosages sells a variety of hot chocolate drinks and their spicy version is called Aztec Elixir, this drink is made of ancho y chipotle chillies, ceylon cinnamon and dark Belgian chocolate.
Taking the first sip is somewhat disappointing, while the chocalate flavor is warm and velvety smooth, no spice can be immediately tasted. The kick of the spice hits at the back of the throat as the warm liquid is swallowed. The sensation can almost be likened to a mild sting that lasts for half a second.
If my description fills you with mild horror that drinking spicy hot chocolate is a somewhat painful disagreeable experience, I assure you, the mild sting I mention enhances and deepens the flavor of the chocolate, brings out the warmth of the milk and makes the entire experience extremely delicious.
Spicy hot chocolate is soul satisfying-it is the perfect drink for keeping the chill out during winter because once you start drinking you cannot stop until the very last drop is gone.
Vosges Haut-Chocolate,951 W. Armitage Ave, Chicago IL 60614 www.vosgeschocolate.com