A recent discovery has me in a swoon.
My husband took me, after a casual dinner at Capofitto, to Shane’s Candy at 110 Market St. I was griping — “It’s cold. I’m tired. We’re at Capofitto, can’t you get something here?” He countered, “I don’t want gelato, and this will be worth the 5-minute walk.”
We arrived at Shane’s, and he walked straight through the vintage candy shop to the rear, where we discovered a garden of chocolate Eden. The small, tucked-away café illustrates the history of cacao while serving up artisanal, single-estate, luxurious drinking chocolates and brewed infusions.
These beverages will change the way you view chocolate.
They are thick, they are luscious and they are smooth, silky and warming. Like fine wine or coffee, the chocolate is described in different ways — fruity, funky, dusty, earthy and spicy, with notes of coffee or pepper. It was eye opening, and I shall eagerly pursue further research.
In the past, I have always made hot chocolate with milk, which presents a problem for kosher diners who may want to follow a meat meal with this spectacular beverage-cum-dessert.
Thanks to Shane’s Chocolate Café, I learned that spectacular drinking chocolate can be made nondairy, using the right kind of chocolate. I made it during the recent snowstorm and received rave reviews.
Note, this is a very rich drink, so a little goes a long way. Think espresso cups or small teacups for each serving. The basic ration is 1:1 water to chocolate; the following recipe makes two small cups.
Nondairy Hot Chocolate
8 ounces high-quality nondairy dark chocolate (at least 56 percent cacao)
1 cup water
If the chocolate is in a bar, chop it into small pieces. Place the pieces in a saucepan with water and heat over medium.
Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until it is smooth, thick and totally melted.
Pour the hot chocolate into cups and enjoy.