Lovely samples of a traditional colonial chocolate recipe sent to me by the Historical Division of the Mars company. A new line, American Heritage Chocolate, featuring old 18th century traditions of chocolate making and old Pennsylvania colonial-style recipes.
Handcrafted chocolate with natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives. Historians, chefs, food historians, and their chocolate makers collaborated to use only ingredients and spices available in that era. Recipes adapted and tested from Hannah Glasse and John Nott as well as others.
The blend of spices used for this chocolate are cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, red pepper, orange, vanilla, salt, and annatto.
The hand made techniques are detailed as:
-Imported beans from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
-Cocoa beans roasted over an open flame, and shells were removed by hand.
-Mortars and Pestles ground the nibs. Often leaving behind traces of other spices and chili peppers. Grinding was also done in mills that ground ginger and mustard which would also influence some of the chocolate's taste.
-Heated stones or metate, was used to grind the nibs in to a chocolate paste.
-Then the hardened chocolate was grated into water or milk.
Watch a chocolate demonstration here: 18th Century Chocolate Making
I love the presentation of it all. From the wooden box it was sent in and the cloth bag the chocolate sticks were presented in. It's very fun.
Single Chocolate stick, pack of four chocolate sticks, and a block of chocolate.
I took one stick for one normal coffee cup and steamed *almond milk. I did take a small nibble off the end of the stick to see what the texture and chocolate tasted like on it's own. Naturally it was very spicy, but the texture was fairly waxy. One of only two issues I had overall with the chocolate.
It smelled fantastic. The spices were a good mix for the chocolate. It did however leave a bit of a cloying taste at the end though due to the spices. But I didn't care about that because it was very soothing and comforting to drink.
I do think one stick for the cup wasn't rich enough. Though I don't know how it will effect the spiciness with added sticks. After using all of my leftover chocolate scraps from reviewing chocolate and making hot chocolate out of them, I prefer a robust and bold hot chocolate. That's also from being spoiled from the richness of L.A. Burdick's insanely rich hot chocolate. I would try it with one stick for a normal coffee cup, and then gradually add more if you think it needs it.
I haven't baked with it yet, but as the holidays roll around, I will certainly find something to do with the block. For now, I am left with four sticks of the drinking chocolate. That means about 2 more cups. I will make sure I save them for an especially frigid night.
Even with this being a product of a "Macro" chocolate company, this is fun chocolate. This cool little experiment in history and recipe searching. You can find it at historical sites for now to purchase, such as Williamsburg, Va., Mount Vernon, The Smithsonian, Monticello and the Fortress of Louisbourg in Canada. And even better for me being in Massachusetts, I can get this in Deerfield, Ma. The also have teas and coffees.
*I have recently had to give up milk. It's one of two reasons, either the amount of hormones added to milk here in the United States, or the pasteurization of milk causes a make reaction with my skin. It's been the most devastating thing to ever have to give up. But in Europe, I had raw milk and nothing happened to my skin. Adding milk to my coffee, nothing happened. I still have yet to talk to a doctor about the matter, but my findings so far are leading to me to think it's the pasteurization. When milk is pasteurized a crucial enzyme in milk that helps human bodies process it is destroyed. This could be the reason it's taking it's toll on me. However as a life long milk drinker, this is first time I have ever noticed such damaging effects.
But not all is lost. Almond milk has really come through and saved the day. Vanilla Almond Milk to be more precise. It has vanilla in it, it's sweeter, very thick and creamy. It's like going through the process of making homemade hot chocolate but cutting out all the steps. It's very tasty. And despite being made from almonds, the nuttiness doesn't interfere as much as you would think. It's there mildly, but over all it enhances the richness of the chocolate being added to it. Without Almond milk, I might have considered tossing myself off a bridge if I had to live without milk.