Cocoa party! Yeah!

First there was the Tea Party movement. Which I’ve been keeping my distance from because while some of the small-government talk appealed to my libertarian instincts, it seemed to have a whiff of grouchy-old-fart social conservatism about it. While I’ve nearly achieved the calendar age required for grouchy-old-fart status, I don’t want anything to do with that mindset thank you very much.

Then there was the Coffee Party movement, which smelled of astroturf and humbug even before the founder was outed as a Democratic political operative and former New York Times staffer (but I repeat myself).

Now, there’s…the Cocoa Party movement! Yeah. Sign me up!

This satire is especially personally funny to me because in sober fact I am a cocoa-drinker by choice. I don’t like coffee, and while I enjoy tea well enough, I’d rather have a big mug of Godiva Dark Chocolate any day – extra strong, piping hot, no sugar or cream but a few shakes of cinnamon for sure.

My taste is particular, actually. Most of the hot chocolate mixes sold in supermarkets are oversweetened muck with crappy chocolate in it and too little of that; if you’re carrying around the idea that it’s a drink for children, that’s why. I’ll drink Ghirardelli’s too, but it’s a bit too sweet and vanilla-flavored to be optimal. My wife actually set up a blind Godiva/Ghirardelli test for me once because she was curious whether I could really tell the difference, and it was quite easy; Godiva has a noticeably stronger and earthier flavor and even looks darker. I’ve had import brands that were in a class with Godiva, but they tend to be more expensive and only sporadically available.

Starbucks uses Godiva syrup and actually does cocoa pretty well, which is more than my caffeinoholic friends will say for their coffee. One such friend told me once that the original Starbuck business plan depended on the fact that the roasting process unavoidably produces a certain percentage of overroasted beans; according to his story, what Starbucks did was buy those on the cheap and market the charred, bitter flavor as a feature. This turn-it-up-to-11 philosophy makes bad coffee but really good cocoa.

I have no actual punch line or moral for this post. Except to mote that that I refuse to “work toward the addition of those little marshmallows”. Gaaah. I hate those things…

60 thoughts on “Cocoa party! Yeah!

  1. >it seemed to have a whiff of grouchy-old-fart social conservatism about it.

    Although I doubt our dear media are smart enough to color Tea Party gatherings that way intentionally, their reports do seem to have that tint.

    I’ve been to a couple of the events here in southern California and was surprised at how un-stodgy they were.

    There was a little God bothering, but it seemed very natural and self contained, more fellowship with the like-minded than conversion of the heathens. Several people complimented my wife on her pentacle, but no one offered to burn or save her.

    Just a bit of anthropological observation from Orange County.

  2. How long until the MSM portrays the cocoa partiers as bunch of racist sexist fascist teabaggers?

    And about the grouchy old fart factor: I really have not picked that up. What I get from the teapartiers is a call for more fiscal restraint.

    Actually the teapartiers look like a lot of fun; they look like a motley group.

  3. I was astonished by the number of my old punk rock buddies, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years, at the larger of the Tea Party gatherings I’ve been to locally. For what that’s worth, anyway; I found it very encouraging, myself. I always said rockabilly was the last refuge of a punk rock scoundrel; maybe I should include Tea Party libertarianism in that too, which seemed to be the main political bent of most of the old crew.

  4. Most cocoa powder I’ve seen has more sugar than chocolate in it already. How about your Godiva stuff?

    For the ultimate, buy pre-roasted cocao beans, grind them up and savor the rich buttery texture from the natural cocao butter. Stir in honey for sweetness.

  5. >Most cocoa powder I’ve seen has more sugar than chocolate in it already. How about your Godiva stuff?

    Most “cocoa powder” is, as I noted, oversweetened crap. The ingredients list on the Godiva can doesn’t give the right sorts of numbers to permit an assay.

  6. >If cocoa and sugar are the only significant ingredients, you can figure out the ratio based on the density.

    If I had a scale with gram precision, I’d weigh four tablespoons (one serving). The can says 25g sugars per serving, so that would give me a percentage.

  7. I suspect that even Godiva has more sugar in it than ESR assumes, but it’s MUCH less sweetened than any other hot chocolate mix I’d ever tried.

  8. “Which I’ve been keeping my distance from because while some of the small-government talk appealed to my libertarian instincts, it seemed to have a whiff of grouchy-old-fart social conservatism about it.”

    It’s a leaderless movement with less-government as a unifying factor; of course, there will be all sorts of trace elements mixed in. What it needs is a theoretician to explain how things could work if it gained power.

    Hey, some of the founding Fathers were reluctant too. I hope you change your mind.

  9. There’s a shop in Portland called Cacao that makes “drinking chocolate”: that is, thick, rich, creamy, luke-warm chocolate by the shot. It’s like drinking a really good melted chocolate bar. Well worth trying.

  10. (Much more creamy and chocolatey than even top-quality hot cocoa.)

  11. Andrew from OC,

    “God bothering”. Goes straight in the vernacular/vocab (v/v) file. Great code, but needs a hyphen! :)

  12. > If cocoa and sugar are the only significant ingredients, you can figure out the ratio based on the density.

    That might not work because the differently-sized particles might tessellate to a degree, meaning that the density would be greater than that predicted from a weighted average of the densities of the components.

  13. > I’ve had import brands that were in a class with Godiva, but they tend to be more expensive and only sporadically available

    You do realise Godiva is an “import brand” :-)

  14. The end state of the progression from Tea Party to Coffee Party to Cocoa Party seems to be a return to the Scythian model of deliberation. (See your Herodotus.) This would disenfranchise Methodists, Mormons, and A.A. members, I admit. :)

  15. the tea party movement clearly needs a “cathedral and the bazaar”-type manifesto.

    I was astonished by the number of my old punk rock buddies, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years, at the larger of the Tea Party gatherings I’ve been to locally. For what that’s worth, anyway; I found it very encouraging, myself. I always said rockabilly was the last refuge of a punk rock scoundrel; maybe I should include Tea Party libertarianism in that too, which seemed to be the main political bent of most of the old crew.

    this is only six miles off-topic (right blog, wrong thread), but when did the ethos of “punk rock” migrate from nationalism, libertarianism and anarchy to the pacifistic liberalism/socialism that characterizes most politically aware pop? i’ve been listening lately to a lot of recent music that’s classed as such, and i’m occasionally boggled by the political generation gap.

    my guess is that the blurring of the boundaries between punk and indie has something to do with it, and that there’s probably a bunch of stuff on the fringe that sticks to some of those older views, but little to none of it seems to be in the mainstream (to whatever degree that word can truly be applied to punk). of course, i’d also like it if someone would tell me the morons in green day are to blame so i can hate them for more than just poor songwriting and the fueling of a corporate co-opting of the genre; “rage against the machine” would also be an acceptable answer for similar reasons.

  16. Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot!?!?

    Even ESR makes the mistake of equating hot cocoa and hot chocolate.

    There is a difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. The terms are often used interchangeably, but technically they are as different as Milk Chocolate and bittersweet chocolate.

    Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate pressed free of the fat (cocoa butter), stripping it of all its richness.
    Hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into cream. It is a rich decadent drink. (The botanical name for chocolate is Theobroma, which means “food of the gods”)

    If you’re drinking hot cocoa and calling it hot chocolate, you are living in a state of sin. May a pox be upon your house.

    If you’re making hot chocolate and not using a good Mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra, Moctezuma, Don Gustavo, La Soleded or Abuelita*), you’re simply not drinking hot chocolate, but rather drinking swill with only a superficial resemblance.

    Jefferson was a great lover of hot chocolate. In a letter to John Adams in 1785, he wrote: “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.

    *Abuelita is made by Nestle, and most Mexicans prefer other brands.

  17. >Even ESR makes the mistake of equating hot cocoa and hot chocolate.

    Reread. I know the difference; the marketers (especially the low-end ones) don’t. I see where you could have gotten the wrong idea, though; there’s one instance of the term I should have put in skepticism quotes.

  18. @esr: If you’re teetotaling coffee due to caffeine content, be aware that the average “5 oz cup” of hot cocoa contains about 10 mg of caffeine, and about 200mg of the related alkaloid, theobromine, which has a similar effect of CNS, just weaker.

    If, OTOH, you just don’t like the taste of coffee, I’d suggest visiting Seattle, Milano or Rome and order an espresso or an Americano there. Some folks around here enjoy Cuban coffee, but real Cuban coffee tastes swillish to tongue.

    Your friend’s story about Starbucks has a grain of truth: they use seriously burnt beans, but it’s not because some beans get overroasted: proper roasting equipment results in very even roasting. Starbucks, the first of the Seattle coffehouses trying to take espresso nationwide, was trying to replicate the coffee of southern Italy (which uses a dark roast similar to Vienna roast) and they found that making espresso isn’t a very scalable process. So they overroasted it to get a very consistent flavor across all their stores nationwide, marketing that as a feature. And it worked because Americans as a whole are very, very ignorant about what makes good coffee.

  19. >If, OTOH, you just don’t like the taste of coffee, I’d suggest visiting Seattle, Milano or Rome and order an espresso or an Americano there.

    I love the smell, but don’t like the bitter alkaloids. Once in my life I’ve had coffee that tasted exactly like it smelled. Unfortunately, it was Jamaica Blue Mountain.

    Note: Though I’m not clinically ADHD, I have the ADHD-like trait that caffeine and other CNS stimulants with similar pathways actually relax me slightly. So I don’t have the usual reason for avoiding caffeine.

  20. FWIW, here is my take on the tea party. It is, what the politicians like to call, a “big tent”. What it is is a bunch of angry, slightly meandering, leaderless, raging people, with no precise aims except to shout angry slogans against the government. They are mad at lots of things, and for the most part aren’t so much offering solutions, as opposing ideas they don’t agree with. Indeed, they include a lunatic fringe that is way out there calling Obama Hitler[*], and although not representative, that is the essence of their view taken to the extreme edges of credulity. The tea party can be summed up in one simple phrase “we’re mad and we’re not going to take it anymore.”

    It is for these reasons that I really like them. They represent the great tradition of 18th century American politics.

    The tea party will be finished when they get a leader and a manifesto.

    [*]FWIW, I don’t think Obama resembles Hitler, though he is undoubtedly a socialist, or possibly fascist, though I’d be more inclined to describe his a “naive”.

  21. A man with civilized beverage tastes! But you’re more tolerant than I am. I dislike even the smell of coffee. . . .

    You can find a pure cacao powder with no sugar at my local Whole Foods. I’ve bought it a couple of times; I’m experimenting with a homemade mole recipe. It seems to be a pretty good quality.

    As to the Tea Party, I share your ambivalence. Do you know Aristotle’s categories of demonstration, dialectic, and rhetoric? Basically the Tea Party strikes me as appealing to classic rhetorical thinkers and arguments . . . that is, they’re populists, with the typical populist mixture of good (opposition to governmental elitism) and bad (lack of systematic thinking). On the other hand, the primary emphasis so far does seem to be small government, low taxes, and strict constitutionalism, which are not bad principles for a movement.

  22. >You can find a pure cacao powder with no sugar at my local Whole Foods.

    There’s a Whole Foods not far away, I might try experimenting with pure cacao to see how much sugar it needs. It’s going to be some; I reach my no-fun-anymore threshold at above 88% for bar chocolate, and the one time I had 99%…well, let’s just say I’m glad I tried it once.

  23. > I might try experimenting with pure cacao to see how much sugar it needs.

    If I remember correctly (my grandmother has been doing this thing since I was six), three large tea spoons of pure cocoa and five small tea spoons of sugar (!) needed to be added to 400 mL of boiling water, so you can prepare a non-poisonous drinkable hot cocoa.

    Thanks for the post. It brought back happy memories.

  24. Here are the results from a survey of Tea Party “leaders” regarding their concerns and motivations. Their three biggest issues are the budget (92%), the economy (85%), and defense (80%). No respondents listed social issues as an important direction for the movement.

  25. I make my own mix, which involves a surprising amount of salt and cayenne pepper.

  26. >I make my own mix, which involves a surprising amount of salt and cayenne pepper.

    Recipe, please?

    Actually, cayenne pepper (specifically cayenne) sounds like a very tasty idea.

  27. I found something interesting about caffeine and me last winter. I knew it didn’t have a strong effect on me, so while I was out of work, a few months ago, I tried alternating no coffee, decaf, regular coffee, and coffee with additional caffeine pills, a few weeks each, and variable orders. I used a simple video game (Zuma) that requires little real thought but quick, simple judgement as a test. As far as I could determine, caffeine has absolutely no effect on me at all. Apparently the small effects I had thought I was getting from it were ALL placebo.

  28. I love the little marshmallows in cocoa.

    Unfortunately there’s little occasion to drink the stuff in Southern California, since the proper environment (cold winter days with snow outside the window) happen so rarely down here, unless you live above five thousand feet of elevation.

  29. Coffee used to not effect me at all. Back when I was in the Marines, I would drink most of a 30 cup coffe maker throughout the day at work and notice no ill-effects. Nearly 20 years later, after I quit drinking coffe for a number of years, if I drink more than a cup or two I get the shakes so bad that I look like I have parkensens.

    Go figure, tea and soda don’t have the same effect.

    s

  30. There’s a shop in Portland called Cacao that makes “drinking chocolate”: that is, thick, rich, creamy, luke-warm chocolate by the shot. It’s like drinking a really good melted chocolate bar. Well worth trying.

    I’ve been there. They are very kind. I made the mistake of going out walking without an umbrella, and when a cloudburst drenched me and the city I was stranded, soaked head to toe. I came into this place and they practically rushed up to me with armloads of towels and allowed me to wait till the rain abated somewhat.

  31. >There’s a shop in Portland called Cacao that makes “drinking chocolate”: that is, thick, rich, creamy, luke-warm chocolate

    While it’s possible I’d like what this particular shop makes, I’ve had hot “drinking chocolate” (e.g. actual melted chocolate from a double boiler) and not liked it as well as cocoa made from alkali-processed cocoa powder. I found the texture of “drinking chocolate” too oily and the mixture oversweetened — I felt like I needed something to wash the goo off my tongue and palate when I was done.

  32. I think Morgan has a good point … the stuff that gets called “coffee” in the US generally bears very little resemblence to a good espresso. The chains like Starbucks may have popularised the idea of espresso (instead of percolated or filtered coffee) but their product is generally of low to average quality.

    This is not limited to the US – I am fortunate to live in a part of Australia that enjoys a rich Italian heritage and a strong “coffee culture”, particularly in the inner urban areas here the coffee is generally good to excellent. In other places (including Sydney) it is much harder to get a decent coffee.

  33. I love the smell, but don’t like the bitter alkaloids. Once in my life I’ve had coffee that tasted exactly like it smelled. Unfortunately, it was Jamaica Blue Mountain.

    Sure about that? 90% of everything labelled ‘Jamaica Blue Mountain’ isn’t. True Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee comes from only one mountain in Jamaica, and I think only beans from a particular part of the mountain counts as true “Jamaica Blue Mountain.” A lot of the coffee from other parts of Jamaica get labelled that, and even coffee from other countries gets labelled that. Technically, it’s illegal but it doesn’t stop people from doing it.

    In addition, for espresso, these are the factors that affect the taste and quality, in order of importance, called the Four M’s:

    Mano dell’operatore (hand of the operator)
    Macinadosatore (grinder-doser)
    Miscela (coffee blend)
    Macchina espresso (espresso machine)

    Notice what’s most important: Mano dell’operatore. Here’s the key to why Starbucks tastes so bad: they use superautomatics. No superautomatic espresso machine can product decent espresso. There is no replacement for a skilled barista. Espresso is truly an artform.

  34. >Sure about that? 90% of everything labelled ‘Jamaica Blue Mountain’ isn’t. True Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee comes from only one mountain in Jamaica, and I think only beans from a particular part of the mountain counts as true “Jamaica Blue Mountain.” A lot of the coffee from other parts of Jamaica get labelled that, and even coffee from other countries gets labelled that. Technically, it’s illegal but it doesn’t stop people from doing it.

    I’m aware of all these facts. The exact reason I think it was genuine is that I have never tasted or smelled coffee that good since. If it was fake, it was a worthy world-class fake.

  35. Interesting; William B Swift, I also recently used the same game (Zuma) to test my performance on and off of caffeine. I got a definite boost from caffeine. I don’t think it changed my judgement; it just made it quicker.

    If cocoa powder has all the natural cocao butter extracted from it, then YUCK! The whole purpose of adding milk or cream to hot chocolate is to give it that smooth texture on the palate. For a while I even used straight butter instead of cream. Once I had the opportunity to try ground up cocao beans, with all the natural cocao butter still in them, I realized the truth of what my mouth had been trying to tell me. You need the whole bean, not just extracted parts of it. The whole bean is in balance; butter and powder in isolation are unbalanced, which is why you need so dang much sugar to go with it.

  36. >If cocoa powder has all the natural cocao butter extracted from it, then YUCK!

    Indeed. One of the differences between a gourmet mix like Godiva or Ghirardelli and crap like Swiss Miss or Carnation is that they leave a lot of the cocoa butter in the good stuff. It makes a very noticeable difference in mouth feel. Debuttered coca is thin, watery, and harsh; the good stuff feels silky, smooth, and rich — like liquid velvet.

    Mixing with milk can help out a poor-quality cocoa mix move from undrinkable to barely tolerable, but cannot undo the damage inflicted by stripping out the cocoa butter.

  37. Eric-there’s a tisane made from the leaves of Coffee Arabica. You might like it.

    Me, I drink instant coffee, water from the hot spigot. Sometimes I add powdered chocolate. Bar bar bar, barbarian.

  38. > Actually, cayenne pepper (specifically cayenne) sounds like a very tasty idea.

    Then try these:
    —-
    2 cups boiling water
    1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed (with gloves if you’re sensitive)
    5 cups light cream or whole or nonfat milk
    1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
    1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
    3 tablets Mexican Chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar or honey, or to taste
    l tablespoon almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
    Whipped cream (optional)

    In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add chile pepper to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add chile-infused water, a little at a time, tasting to make sure the flavor isn’t too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk or cream.

    Serve in small cups and offer ground almonds or hazelnuts and whipped cream.

    4 (1-ounce) squares of Mexican Chocolate
    2 tablespoons honey
    1/4 cup hot water
    Small pinch of salt
    1 tsp instant coffee
    2 cups of milk
    1 egg (optional)
    ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
    1 dried red chile pepper
    Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

    In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, add the Mexican chocolate, honey, hot water, salt, coffee, and chile pepper. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring constantly, for approximately an additional 1 minute. Carefully stir in the milk and let sit over low heat until the chocolate is too warm to touch (you can see the steam rising from it).

    In a medium-size bowl, beat the egg until it is frothy, you can use an electric mixer, a molinillo, a whisk, or even a fork for this. You just need to make it as frothy as possible. Add the vanilla extract and beat in well.

    Pour the hot chocolate mixture over the frothed egg and beat it vigorously for about 15 seconds. You want to beat it until you have about 1/2- to 1-inch of foam on top.

  39. Columbian coffee, black, all day, every day.

    But I have a fundamental aversion to hitching my wagon to an ideology. Now, you could say that’s a ideology unto itself. But I’m not married to that either. Show me a good ideology, and I’m on board. Show me a significant flaw, and I’ll jump ship.

  40. @krygny

    Columbian coffee, black, all day, every day.

    Columbian coffee is bland and uninteresting. Do yourself a favor: if you like Columbian, try Costa Rican shade-grown (sweeter, yet more full-flavored than Columbian), or for something totally different, try Ethiopian Harrar.

  41. I start each day with a square of top notch 75% Callebeaut on the tongue, and then a sip of hot Earl Grey tea. The tea melts the chocolate and then I get a bittersweet perfumy mix of chocolate-tea liqour. And then all is right with the world for about 20 minutes.

  42. @ morgan greywolf

    Mmmm… Ethiopian Harrar, roasted just a hair past second crack. I’ll be in my bunk.

  43. Anyone heard of that coffee that it eaten and crapped out by a civet cat?

    Just sounds tasty doesn’t it?

    I for my part can get by with vending machine coffee.

  44. “It is for these reasons that I really like them. They represent the great tradition of 18th century American politics.”

    Which politics, specifically?

  45. @Andrew:

    Ethiopian Harrar roasted just past second crack happens to be one of favorites. :-) Very good stuff, hints of berries and chocolate. I get mine from an excellent roaster who charges only $12 a pound for that stuff, roasts to-order and ships same day via USPS 2-day express.

    @Darrencardinal:

    I for my part can get by with vending machine coffee.

    I’m going to shock some people here: some vending machine coffee isn’t half bad. There are vending machines that grind the beans just prior to brewing, which, in general, will produce acceptable drip coffee. The main problem with vending machines is that the owners rarely maintain the grinders well.

  46. great thread! Eric, is the chocolate you use from Godiva a liquid, or a solid? and what steps do you follow? [my lady friend is a huge chocoholic, and I would love to surprise her].

    the coffee beans shat out by civet cats is Kopi Luwak…might be fun to essay, but it is over $300 per pound.

  47. I recently set-up a site called The Free Beer Party (www.freebeerparty.org) and an associated occasional blog. This was in response to the Tea Party. I don’t like thoughtless disinformation. There is reason enough to distrust government based on facts.

    The site’s theme is “Socially Liberal, Economically Libertarian, Unsanctimonious”, although many of the blog entries arise from my professional life.

    I have designed a t-shirt (www.freebeerparty.org/t-shirt.php) to pimp the site and may sell it online.

  48. >great thread! Eric, is the chocolate you use from Godiva a liquid, or a solid? and what steps do you follow?

    Godiva, and other mixes like it, are powders intended to be mixed with hot milk – the microwave does nicely for this.

  49. Hmm. Do these mixes themselves contain milk, or is that unnecessary since they are to be mixed with milk by the consumer? How well do they work with hot water?

  50. >Hmm. Do these mixes themselves contain milk, or is that unnecessary since they are to be mixed with milk by the consumer? How well do they work with hot water?

    Lower-grade mixes include milk solids and are intended to be mixed with hot water. The high-quality mixes are intended to be made with heated fresh milk.

  51. I always wander into these interesting discussions late.

    J. Lapin said:

    “The botanical name for chocolate is Theobroma, which means ‘food of the gods’”

    A short history of chocolate and cocoa: Cacao was cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. The Mayan Goddess of Chocolate, Ixcacao, was connected to this orginal drink from the 3rd century. The Aztecs made it into a beverage called *xocolatl* meaning “bitter water.” Chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink, often flavored with chile peppers and other spices, and served cold. It was used as a pick-me-up and as part of religious festivals.

    During the mid 16th century, the Spaniards decided to sweeten the beverage with sugar and heat it. It wasn’t until the 17th century that milk was added to the drink.

    It was even later in the19th century when it was discoved how to mold it adding sugar into solid chocolate treats. Joseph Fry is credited in 1847 with discovering a method to mix some melted cacao butter back into defatted, or “Dutched,” cocoa powder, along with sugar, to create a paste that could be pressed into a mold was turned in to candy bars and other shapes.

    ERS said:
    “Godiva, and other mixes like it, are powders intended to be mixed with hot milk – the microwave does nicely for this.”

    I pass on an incredible reciepe for hot cocoa made with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, which my mother had in the early 1980′s.

    Hot Cocoa with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
    Ingredients:
    2 tbsp. cocoa powder
    2 tbsp. sugar or to taste
    2 c. milk
    2 tsp. whipping cream or tablecream
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    2 oz. Godiva Original Chocolate Liqueur
    Whipped cream (optional)

    Directions:
    Mix sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, and cocoa powder in a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. Stir. Heat until milk is steaming, not boiling. (Or you can heat until milk is steaming in the microwave.)

    Remove from heat. Add Godiva Chocolate Liqueur. Pour into two mugs.
    Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

    (I have found one can add ginger or cinnamon, as desired, but one ought to make the basic recipe first.)

  52. Here’s something unusual with cayenne which I’ve never tried:

    Godiva Devilishly Hot-Hot Chocolate With Cayenne Whipped Cream
    http://www.recipezaar.com/bb/viewtopic.zsp?t=203789

    “Hot Chocolate”
    4 (1 1/2 ounce) Godiva dark chocolate bars, chopped
    1/2 cup water
    3 cups whole milk
    8 whole cloves
    4 cinnamon sticks
    1 dash cayenne pepper
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    “Cayenne Whipped Cream”
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 pinch cayenne pepper

    HOT CHOCOLATE directions

    Place chocolate and water in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium (50% power) 1 minute; Stir.
    Microwave an additional minute more or until chocolate softens, stir until smooth; let cool.
    Combine milk, cloves, cinnamon sticks & cayenne pepper in a saucepan.
    Warm milk mixture over medium heat until bubbles form around edge of pan.
    Whisk chocolate mixture into milk.
    Add sugar and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
    Strain mixture, reserving cinnamon sticks.
    Rinse cinnamon sticks, pat dry and set aside for garnish.
    Return mixture to saucepan and stir in cream.
    Over low heat, heat to simmer.
    Stir in vanilla extract.

    CAYENNE WHIPPED CREAM directions

    Combine all ingredients in bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form.
    Pour hot chocolate into four mugs and serve immediately topped with Cayenne Whipped Cream and a cinnamon stick garnish.

  53. A friend of mine who has a dial-up connection asked me to post the following for him:

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Salutations, everyone!

    My recipe for a home-made “Instant Cocoa Mix”, that costs less
    (and has fewer additives) than the commercial brands.
    The ‘classic’ formula (“inspired” (if I remember correctly (?)) by
    a column Marian Burros wrote for the Washington Post in 1974 or
    so…) is:

    13 1/2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk
    ( one ’1-Quart envelope’ )
    4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
    4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    dash salt
    cinnamon to taste
    ( if you don’t like cinnamon in your cocoa, leave it out )
    ( or maybe nutmeg or ground cloves (very little needed), instead ? )
    You may want to fool around with the 3/1/1 proportions some – a
    bit more cocoa, a bit less sugar.
    I tried leaving out the salt, and didn’t think the omission was an
    improvement.
    ( If you can get one of the 1 1/2 tablespoon scoops that used to
    come with cans of ground coffee, ’twill make all this easier )
    Anyway, put all that stuff into a recycled peanut-butter jar or
    some other airtight container with a secure lid, and shake it up well.
    When you want some hot cocoa;
    Fill a mug 1/4 full of cold water. Add 3 tablespoons of the
    mixture and stir well until it dissolves. Fill the mug to 3/4
    full with boiling water and stir. Fill the mug to the top with
    milk, stir again, and drink up.
    (The dry milk solids won’t dissolve in hot water – if you don’t
    liquefy them in cold water first, you’ll get unappetizing brown
    sludge at the bottom.)

    A diabetic friend of mine was wondering if an appetizing lower-
    sugar version would be possible, so I tried:

    13 1/2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk
    ( one ’1-Quart envelope’ )
    4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
    * 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    dash salt
    cinnamon to taste ( if you don’t like cinnamon in your cocoa,
    leave it out … )
    [ same preparation procedure ]

    Seemed pretty good, but further experimentation showed that a drop
    of vanilla extract ( *genuine* vanilla extract, if you please )
    added to the cold water improved it a great deal.
    I’m currently experimenting to find out if you can add the vanilla
    extract while mixing up the mix, without ending up with a mix full
    of lumps. Any suggestions ?

    Hope you find this useful and/or tasty.

    Yours, John Desmond

  54. I always wander into these interesting discussions EXTREMELY late.

    Can’t pass up a pedantic warm drinks discussion though… I had been using whatever was the cheapest non-sweetened cocoa powder at Whole Foods (Ghirardelli, Chatfields, Green & Black, Dagoba) and some can be really flat tasting, although it was hard to say if if was the brand or age of the stuff. I tend to use 1 TB per 8oz and then about 1/2 TB of sugar and whisk it in a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water (the high walls of the bowl and vigorous whisking take care of any lumps!) The liquid portion is usually whole milk with some percentage of heavy whipping cream, sometimes even a 1:1 ratio.

    Trader Joe’s is currently selling 9 oz of Columbian Tumaco cocoa powder for about $2 I think, which they claim has more cocoa butter content than most. I have been happy with it, but haven’t noticed a major difference. I have also really enjoyed one I bought at a spice shop called Penzeys, this one here: http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyscocoapowder.html

    My experience was with the 24% non-dutched variety and even though they recommend dutched (alkali treated) for hot cocoa, I thought this made an excellent drink. If there is a Penzeys nearby it’s worth a try.

    I’ve also melted various bars into milk with good results. I usually do this with 70% and don’t add any sugar, but make it pretty light, maybe only a 1.5″ square per 8oz. Trader Joe’s used to carry two single source bars (Guaranda and Ocumare) made by a Spanish company called Chocovic for a great price, but they dumped them to carry some private-labeled mediocre Swiss bars instead. You can buy Chocovic online but they cost at least twice what you used to pay for them there. Valrhona is usually astronomical as well, but I’ve found some of their Grand Cru sold as bulk at WF in the past and was very pleased with the Guanaja and Caribe.

    Also if you are in Starbucks check out bars by Amano (from Utah of all places but the actual beans they use come from Madagascar and it tastes of raisins!) and Santander (who’s dark bar has the most distinctive malty flavor I’ve never tasted in any other chocolate and I believe they use Columbian beans only.)

    Anyway enough about chocolate… I mostly drink tea all day. I think Darjeeling and Assam make life worth living. I add a little heavy cream to both (or even whole milk if you must) though the purists would probably have me shot for suggesting adding anything to Darjeeling. In my defense I drink the better 2nd flushes straight 50% of the time, but the lesser ones and the autumn flushes (which tend to be cheaper) always taste better with cream and sometimes sugar. Forget the purists though. Assam is so dark I think it also always benefits from doctoring, though if you add the sugar first and taste it before the cream it can give the strangest impression that you are drinking hot Welch’s concord grape juice!

  55. > It’s a leaderless movement with less-government as a unifying factor; of course, there will be all sorts of trace elements mixed in. What it needs is a theoretician to explain how things could work if it gained power.

    Paging Professor Paz; Professor Bernardo De La Paz…

  56. In an email discussion of hot cocoa, I shared this link with a friend from a Hispanic family. Recently, he gave me some “Nestle Abuelita.” I have to admit this is one of the superior forms of hot cocoa. It rivals the reciepe my mom had “Hot Cocoa with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.” (Indeed I believe my husband prefers the “Nestle Abuelita.”)

    The point is the Cocoa Party movement should definetly court the Hispanic population.

  57. One more bit about Cocoa. At my local 7-11, I drank a surpriingly delicious Blood Orange Cocoa. Apparently they are selling it because of some video game of forth comming movie called something like “Mafia Wars.”

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