Chocolate is the earliest stimulant drink brought to Europe, predating both coffee and tea. And archaeological finds indicate it has been consumed in South America for millennia: traces of cocoa beans have been found on pottery shards in Honduras which date consumption of the plant at least as far back as 1400BC.
Of course, it would not have been the chocolate we know and love today, but a bitter drink made from the beans of the cacao plant. Sugar was not added, nor was the plant matter turned into a solid sweet, for centuries, and even then only when the Europeans got hooked.
Our chocolate is made in the city of Oaxaca, by manufacturers La Soledad, who have been in operation for over sixty years. A few businesses in the city started quite basic processing about a century ago, and to this day their facilities are quite minimal: they mill the beans in quite small mills, then add spices and sugar. The raw beans get poured in at the top, and then a gummy chocolate mess comes out the other end, which is then pressed into bars and wrapped in foil.
Tom first started bringing it over in small amounts for his own conception about twenty years ago, but in recent years, the hot chocolate stall at the back of the shop on a Sunday has been his daughter’s and now Andrea’s venture. To sustain it, Tom now imports around 200kg of chocolate every year, and we’re now pleased to offer it for order on our website.
To make your own hot chocolate at home, you can add chilli flakes for some spice, or heap it with whipped cream. We recommend frothing it with what we in the shop refer to by the highly technical term of a “twizzling device”, but is more properly known as a molenillo. Made of wood, you roll it between your hands at speed. If you don’t have a molenillo, you can use a whisk.