For those of you who, along with me, would prefer hot chocolate to pastries if made to choose, then I have the authentic Spanish recipe for you:
Use the Valor Chocolate A La Taza 10.5 ounce chocolate bar that is made only in Spain, but has been exported to the U.S. The Valor bar is a chocolate intended for consumption after cooking and uses rice flour as the thickening agent. Heat whole milk on the stove. When warm, add 4 oz. of chocolate for each 6 1/2 oz. of milk. Stir constantly over low heat. Just before boiling, remove from heat. Let chocolate settle for a few minutes before pouring into a cup placed on a saucer; then, drink slowly. Be sure to use a spoon to get out the last bit of chocolate! Now, just imagine sipping your drink slowly on a moon-lit evening in an outdoor plaza heated with flaming torches, in the shadow of the ancient cathedral with street musicians providing enchanting tunes, while watching couples, young and elderly, walking arm in arm, relishing the moment. That’s the Spanish experience! And that’s why I say, “Chocolate is for lovers!” Let Wayne have his pastry:-)
Since many of you have inquired, I am also delighted to share with you the story of this traditional hot chocolate drink with which I have fallen in love, like most of the Spanish people ever since Christopher Columbus discovered cacao beans used by native Americans in 1502. It was Hernando Cortez, though, who sent cacao beans back to Spain in 1544. The Spanish explorers liked the drink made from cacao, but added something that the Mayans and Aztecs could not: cane sugar. Though the Spaniards brought cacao back to Spain, they incredibly kept the discovery a secret from the rest of Europe for almost a century! Once the rest of Europe tasted this new drink, it became a fad that swept across the continent. The nobility and elite of Europe were the only ones who could afford to drink chocolate, since it was made from two expensive imports – sugar cane and cacao. Finally, in the 1800s, the technology of the Industrial Revolution helped transform chocolate from liquid form into solid bars; thus, mass production made the delicacy affordable to the rest of the population.
Chocolate drinking establishments in Spain are called chocolaterias where the sweet, rich beverage and cakes and pastries are served. The story is told that the Spanish people were so enamored with the drink that the Pope was asked to change the rules regarding fasting to exclude chocolate! It seems that on every street here in Seville is an establishment that serves the thick, rich chocolate drink “con churros” (hot chocolate with fritters).
Come visit us in our home after our return to Tomball, and we can enjoy the Spanish experience together. I’m going to sneak a few Valor Chocolate A La Taza bars into my suitcase before leaving Seville. Just don’t let Wayne know; I’ve told him he cannot stuff pastries into the suitcase! KG