“Curiouser and curiouser.”
Alice in Wonderland
I couldn’t resist the above quote as I tried Mars’ American Heritage Chocolate. The promotional DVD gave it an historical pedigree; and, I learned that Washington, Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all enjoyed chocolate. The people at Mars have researched recipes from Colonial times and created a spiced chocolate that can be purchased as a drink, in sticks (3″ long and about 1/4″ in diameter) for easy eating, or in 5.13 ounce blocks, for baking. Apparently, the chocolate during that period came from Ecuadorean beans that were roasted over an open flame (to a light, medium, or dark intensity, just like coffee). Then, they were ground on a hot, stone metate (like those used in Mexico) until melted, at which point sugar and spices were added. Naturally, each cook had their own blend of spices. American Heritage Chocolate uses: cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper, orange peel, and vanilla.
I sampled the sticks, which are lightly dusted with cocoa. The initial flavor of dark chocolate, was enhanced by cinnamon and nutmeg. After those notes died down a bit, I was treated to a gentle hit of red pepper. I couldn’t discern much vanilla or orange peel. This is a slightly bitter product with a much smoother texture than one might expect from something less processed. The sugar has clearly melted and doesn’t have a granular crunch.
If you teach Early American history, know anyone who loves this period, or simply want to give someone an unusual chocolate gift, this would hit the spot.
The baking block would make an excellent chocolate mousse, chocolate truffle cake, or brownie.