Jun 22, 2007

cacao and chicharrònes

Today, for lunch, I walked down to the artisan market and bought a hot chocolate and a sandwich made of fresh pork chicharrònes and slices of sweet potato. The hot chocolate is made from the cacao paste, sugar, and water, and heated with a vanilla bean and a few cloves in the liquid. It's wonderful. The only thing I would add to it would be a touch of ground cayenne pepper. I have trouble with the gray winter days in Lima, I have trouble with the language sometimes, and I am often caught unaware by the peculiarities of the culture, but the food is always wonderful for me. I have discovered that certain vendors are clean and careful with their food preparation and certain others are completely unsafe in their methods, so I go to my tried and true ones.

They sell hot chocolate made with cacao in the institute where I work, but very often, they don't add enough water or milk to the cacao and it turns out really thick and greasy. Still, where else would I get to experience real chocolate made straight from the cocoa* bean while loud Andean pipes and singers with falsetto voices wailed in the background?

*edited to read "cocoa" instead of "coco" for the sake of clarity.


LisaCatherine said...

"Still, where else would I get to experience real chocolate made straight from the coco bean "

are these refined beans or can you get stoned out of drinking a drink made from it ?? Or is that just from chewing the leaves... I can't remember now.

Still it sounds like a wonderful drink. You sure are on a long term amazing journey over there !!

kathleen said...

No, you can't get stoned on CACAO. You might be thinking of COCA, with is the plant that cocaine is made from, but cacao is chocolate. It is unrefined, only mashed with mortar and pestal, and the only damage I suffered was a burnt tongue, because I couldn't wait to to drink it until it cooled some.

Many people here do chew on the coca leaves to get relief from headaches or altitude sickness, but the reality is that not many people here can afford a cocaine habit. There's also another plant, COCO, which is coconut, and no one gets stoned from that, either,that I'm aware of.

Lots of words are similar, but they all have different meanings.

LisaCatherine said...

This is good info to know. I had a flash back to Kabul and a tea they made with some leaf that was also smoke-able... at 13 that kind of rush can flip you out !! Very scary as a kid.

Love all the info you shared, I love coconut, even the smell is a mellow and gentle reminder of beaches in Greece, tall tan men in trunks and abs that sparkled in the sun... I was 16 by then !!