And for that, I thank them.
Of course we must thank the Aztecs for chocolate, also acknowledge Columbus, and er...while I don't particularly feel like thanking Cortez for anything, he certainly realized that chocolate was the next big thing.
The Spanish aristocracy was smitten. Spain wisely and quietly began planting cacao in its overseas colonies, which gave birth to a very profitable business. Remarkably enough, the Spanish succeeded in keeping the art of the cocoa industry a secret from the rest of Europe for nearly a hundred years. Cheeky tarts!
So there were these Spanish monks see, who had been consigned to process the cacao beans for the mucky-mucks profiteering. After a night of feasting on chocolate and partaking of aged spirits - I can't say this is exactly how it happened but, it's how I like to imagine it - they got a little chatty with some fellows from the nearby village and spilled the beans. Once the secret was out, chocolate was on everyone's lips.
When The Engineer's folks were here last, my mother in-law spent an afternoon with me showing me how to make chocolates. It was so much fun, and now I have a rather fantastic (possibly dangerous) skill to add to my repertoire.
We made hand rolled truffles with different coatings. The toasted almond were my personal favorite. I don't know that I will ever become a master at the rolling of the truffles, apparently I have hot hands. These 'hot hands' of mine melt the chocolate too rapidly and it all becomes a rather slippery, misshapen mess. Perhaps if I could find me some temperature controlled gloves...anyway they may have looked a little funny but they tasted lovely.
Nancy brought along some chocolate molds and we set about making chocolate cherries, how fancy is that?
At the end there was some chocolate left, and there were strawberries. I'm certain you would have come to the same conclusion we did.
Thank you so much Nancy! What a sweet and messy happy afternoon. You can also be sure that I have been dreaming up new flavors and experiments in my mind for days now.
I have a feeling a few of you who have managed it to the end of this post, are now quietly making your way to the pantry just to check, you know, in case you might need a bit of chocolate for later.