I thought I’d have time to relax and play today, but it turned out that I spent the whole day, from the moment I was woken up by AXA insurance, until midnight tonight when I got back from training, busy as I could be. Meetings with antiques dealers (useless), the bank (stressful), Prince Ali(a beautiful contrast) and inbetween desperately trying to do designs for the upcoming website meant that the first time I got to sit down and relax a bit was 3 hours ago. But seeing my wall instantly brought me back up since there was a message from Ilana containing the fantastic words:

“Also, I can’t remember if I ever told you about a drink from Nicaragua that’s made from toasted maize, toasted cacao, cinnamon, ice, milk/water and only sometimes sugar. It’s one of the best things in the world, and your shop definitely needs it!”
After googling chocolate maize drink I came up with champurrada/champurrado and was completely inspired after seeing the world’s most awesome cookery website ever, sorry Delia, you’re wonderful, but there’s no way any lone woman could compete with a Mexican family who grill chilies over their gas stove before stuffing them with meat and deep frying them, play dentist with discarded pig skulls, can cook something that looks so much like an alienat one point and yet so delicious at the same time and have a section of recipes called “vegatables and (mostly) meatless dishes”. I had to make it and damn the fact that it’s 2am and the only thing corn related I have in the house is cornflour of a debatable quality. Since the authentic one looked like too much stuff I didn’t have I took a look round the web for another one and found this one by Gino D’Acampo, who I massively respect for his outrageously wonderful accent and obsession for making tiramisu on Ready Steady Cook. I should have stuck with Dona Martha’s recipe and for straying to another website I was rightly chastised… I did manage to make a really tasty chocolate pudding using Gino’s recipe and adding a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg and a little bit less sugar, but I think the corn is ground too fine and just generally crappy. I need to go out shopping for masa harina!

Anyway… having been mildly disturbed by producing chocolate pudding instead of hot chocolate I went back to google armed with my pudding, a bowl and a burning desire to find out what Ilana’s drink actually was since what I was eating, although delicious, didn’t taste like I imagined it would and none of the recipes mentioned toasting the corn and almost all included sugar, hmm…. I tried googling Nicaragua chocolate maize drink and Nicarague chocolate drink and came up with something else entirely (which I’ll come back to in a bit) and a different drink called Pinollilo. This sounds much more tasty, it’s made from toasted corn and cocoa boiled up together then cooled and served in ice… just imagine something like iced liquid chocolate coated popcorn, maybe. I’ve given up on my crappy cornflour for the moment since it refuses to toast and instead just burns and then sticks to the pan so I’m going to get myself to the best healthfood store I can find and ask about red maize tomorrow!

The real gem of today though is that I’ve found the official best chocolate site in the entire world! They’re a Nicaraguan company who are fed up with big companies taking nice cocoa, paying the locals peanuts and then making a crappy product and so have decided instead to make amazing, delicious looking, unbelievably fresh godchocolate. Just look at the ingredients:

“Forest grown Nicaraguan Cacao, Cows Milk, Honey, semi refined sugar, Natural soy bean lecithin, and Vainilla.”

Vainilla… fantastic! They’re pretty much the coolest people in the entire world, every single part of their site radiates waves of pure joy and they’re available in a “Zona Cool” near you… if you happen to live in Nicaragua.

Luckily for us they’re in the middle of trying to sort out the permits to sell in America, so hopefully it won’t be long until they start shipping over here. I sent them an email an hour ago begging them to let me buy their chocolate and promising to sell it on if they can ship it here. I’m not massively sure about how great their email address will work since it looks like the site they’re hosted on has shut down. Though I’m determined not to be set back by something like that, so tomorrow I’m going to print off my email and send it to Nicaragua so that I can sell their chocolate in the UK. Watch them combat blandness and crapulence; believe me it’s going to rock the chocolate world.

I think everything they stand for is put best by them (lots of quoting today hmm… ) so I’ll let them say it:

“Industriliazed chocolate
has been outside the realm of traditional methods
keeping the wealth of chocolate in the hands of
the rich who can afford expensive machinery.

Yet as this is written around the world there are
silent spoon revolutions taking place as people
rediscover the lost art of making chocolate fresh,
at home in their kitchens, or their farms.

It can be foreseen that every country in the
world that grows Cacao will undergo the
same influence as people wake up to the fact that
they too can make unbelievably good chocolate.
superior to any bought in a store.

So to all you raw chocolate makers. We at the
Factory salute you.”

and I salute you Momotombo, Lord of Chocolate!