Posted by: coolerbecky | July 21, 2009

Delicious Italian Chocolate

Well, since I’m already writing about cookies, let’s move on to the next thing on the sweet treats list – hot chocolate. There’s something magical about a mug of hot chocolate, it’s a comfort food that’s guaranteed to chase away winter blues. It’s also healthy! Recent studies have found that the beverage reduces the risk of heart disease as it contains more antioxidants than wine or tea. Flavinols in hot chocolate also help to shield the walls of blood vessels from damage and also prevents platelet buildup. The drink and has also enjoyed a history of being used as a medicinal aid for the treatment of stomach ailments1.

Hot chocolate was invented by the Mayan people over two thousand years ago (before they got taken over by the Aztecs). It was considered a drink for the upper echelons of society and was (ironically) served cold. The original drink was bitter, frothy, spicy and actually kinda gross tasting as it was flavoured with cornmeal and chilli peppers.

The drink as it is known today is actually a European adaptation of the Aztec adaptation of the original Mayan concoction. Sugar was added to counteract the natural bitterness of cocoa and chilli was thrown right out in favour of the more palatable flavours like vanilla and cinnamon.

I happened to come across the Gourmet Beverage Bar at the Aroma Festival last year, having been lured there by the heady scent of brewing chocolate. The queue for the stall was miles long, but it really was worth the wait. Each drop of the thick, Italian style hot chocolate was divine… so good, in fact, that I purchased a number of small packets of chocolate powder for home consumption. Sadly, the packets of chocolate didn’t last more than a week in my house due to their tastiness and I was left without my fix.

ChocolatetinIn a bid not to run out of the stuff, I’ve purchased a 1 kg tin of the cioccolato tradizionale2 at the aroma festival this year. The price of the instant powder burned quite a substantial hole in my pocket – one tin costs about $48. Still, if you don’t have that much cash to spare, you can always visit the Gourmet Beverage Bar at the Rocks Market every weekend for your fix as the drinks are also available in the aforementioned small packets. The packets cost about $3.50 each and come in a range of different flavours from the very basic traditional cocoa to complex blends such as cherry, hazelnut and the old classic, chilli pepper.

Fans of the ancient Mayan drink (in its modern form) will be pleased to know that the subject of today’s post is technically available worldwide. The Gourmet Beverage Bar ships worldwide, but doesn’t really have a webpage. Instead, order forms are available by request via E-mail at gracio(at)ozemail(dot)com(dot)au.


1This practice was stopped in the 19th century. Milk is a laxative, so Cooler Becky does not recommend drinking loads of hot chocolate when you have a stomach bug. See your doctor instead!
2Traditional Hot Chocolate – DUH.

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Responses

  1. I was nosing around the blogs a bit and caught a faint scent of the Mayan Royal Drink.

    Come and talk chocolate with us on our blog:

    http://www.chocolatetonight.wordpress.com


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