Tlaquetzalli

Translated as ‘precious thing’, aka Cocoa Tea.

There are many records throughout history that show the HUNDREDS of ways of preparing this drink. In this case, we are referring to chocolate and cacao as a drink made from the beans and water and not as a the solid slabs we see so often today. In the beginning only the wealthy and warring could get their hands on cacao and it’s known that the legendary Moctezuma sent 2,000 jars of the stuff to his soldiers A DAY to keep them feeling energised, and as a treat of course. Taste and process were constantly being refined throughout history, but early Aztecs had really pinned down methods having learnt the tricks of the trade from previous Mayans.

Whilst cacao beans and water sound delicious (ahem), I am incredibly glad when they started to play around with flavours. They added ground chillies, vanilla, and a variety of flowers and plants and as cultures started to merge, so did the addition of all spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. All of which is right up my street.

(NOTE/ all chocolate used is from Hotel Chocolat)

As one doesn’t have a steady supply of beans, I am experimenting with chocolate shavings and water. You can add milk to yours but milk and I aren’t the best of friends so I’ve left it out. I’ve used a high percentage vanilla white chocolate, a Java 74% milk chocolate, Madagascar 72% dark chocolate, and a Saint Lucian Island Growers 100%.

Cocoa Tea

  • grated cocoa shavings of your choice
  • aprox. 2 cups water
  • flavourings of choice
  • milk, optional

Lavender Infused Vanilla White Cocoa Tea

DSCF4311White & Vanilla Lavender Infused Tea

Last year I visited Rabot 1745 in Borough Market and ordered their white chocolate and jasmine hot chocolate. Now, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of hot chocolate (I prefer to eat it), nor am I a lover of white chocolate, and herbal/floral notes in sweet things freak me out if they’re not done properly so you’re probably wondering why I purchased this. Well as am I, maybe I was feeling wild. It really worked though and, even though this is not something I’d chose to drink on a regular basis, it was still a good experience. I went with lavender instead of jasmine, and added some strained blueberries in afterwards to give it a fruity burst.

The result was a very smooth and subtly sweet drink. The lavender and fruit really complimented the vanilla notes to the chocolate.

COMBINATIONS THAT WORK WELL WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE:

  • stone fruits
  • other berries such as strawberries/ raspberries / blackberries
  • coconut
  • green teas (Sencha/ Matcha go exceptionally well)
  • jasmine
  • lemongrass
  • lemon/ lime/ orange
  • passion fruit
  • mango

JAVA 74% MILK WITH HONEY/ NUTMEG/ CINNAMON

DSCF4315Java Milk, Cinnamon & Nutmeg Tea

I made two different drinks out of this one. The first was Java and honey, and the second was Java with nutmeg and cinnamon. I find HC’s Java 74% milk a very intense and caramel-y bar, I can definitely taste malt tones to it too so I thought the honey would compliment it perfectly and it really did. This one was by far my favourite. It was dark, glossy, incredibly smooth and warming which is exactly the results I wanted.

The second version, the one with nutmeg and cinnamon, was also a success. It actually ended up tasting like chilli chocolate which is a winning combination in my books. The only problem was that it slightly grainy, which may been down the the cinnamon bark but it wasn’t too much of an issue.

COMBINATIONS THAT WORK WELL WITH MILK CHOCOLATE

  • caramel
  • cherries
  • banana
  • coconut
  • pears
  • raspberries
  • chai teas
  • Darjeeling tea (especially with caramel based chocolate)
  • Kenyan/ Ethiopian coffee
  • peanuts/ walnuts/ almonds/ hazelnuts

MADAGASCAR 72% DARK WITH DRIED BERRIES & COFFEE

DSCF5020

Madagascan chocolate is probably my favourite, I’ve tried a few and I love them all. I’m going to have to source mine from somewhere else soon though *sob* but it’s totally worth it. It’s naturally quite a fruity chocolate, but a nice level of fruity instead of punch-in-the-face fruity. I paired mine with dried berries (raspberries, blackcurrants, elderberries, blueberries), rosehip and ground Ethiopian coffee.

The colour of this was lovely, it was deep purple and glossy but my camera couldn’t pick it up unfortunately. This was probably the most complex in flavour as it started with quite an intense fruit tang and then later finished with roasted coffee tones that matched the chocolate perfectly. VERY fruity though, not for those whole prefer subtle flavours.

SAINT LUCIA ISLAND GROWERS 100% DARK WITH ORANGE BLOSSOM & EARL GREY

DSCF4314Java Milk & Honey Tea

There is no sugar coating this, literally no amount of sugar would make this good. I’ve mentioned this about 38596965 times on this blog that Saint Lucian chocolate will never be my favourite but everyone else appears to love it. Because of this I will continue to pursue the best way for me to consume it, I’ve tried it in a few cakes now and It’s good and I can deal with it, but this does not work for me. On it’s own, without the additional flavours, it’s okay, but the orange and citrus notes make this incredibly bitter. Bitter isn’t necessarily a negative, coffee can be seen as bitter, as are olives, and both of these things are marvellous but this pushes the line a little bit. A no from me unfortunately.

COMBINATIONS THAT WORK WELL WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

  • ginger
  • mint
  • chilli
  • cinnamon
  • raspberries/ strawberries
  • currants/ raisins
  • hazelnuts/ almonds
  • dark roasted coffee
  • Assam tea
  • cherries
  • melon

Have any of you guys tried cocoa tea? I’d love to hear some your experiments and what flavour combo’s you’d think would work!

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