Febbraio è il mese del cioccolato
When I was younger one of my favorite movies was Chocolat. The story tells us about a mysterious woman who moves to a French catholic village with her little girl. Nothing has happened there until the day she opens a chocolate shop! The woman has the gift to know the favorite chocolate taste of her customers. By understanding what the villagers like to eat, she shows them a different way to experience life.
I could watch that movie over and over without ever getting tired of it. The way she made the chocolates, the summer dinner whereby the main ingredient was chocolate; it was all a sight for sore eyes. Because who dares to say that he or she doesn’t like chocolate… 🙂
Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean and there are many varieties of chocolate and chocolate products. The difference in flavours and types has more to do with the manufacturing process, mainly by how much cocoa butter is added to the cocoa solids and what additional ingredients are used, than from the variety of tree from which it originates. There are as many different derivatives such as cakes, pasta, chocolate bars, Easter eggs, chocolate fondue, etc., as there are differences in chocolate itself. It couldn’t be said better than Forrest Gump.
“Life is like a box a chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Because of the variety of it, you never know what you will get or what challenges you are about to face in life.
The Maya and the Aztecs drank chocolate a long time ago. Chocolate was served as a bitter, frothy liquid, mixed with spices or wine. It was believed to have aphrodisiac powers and to give the drinker strength. After its arrival to Europe in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout society. The first chocolate factory was built in England in 1728. Today the increasing demand for cocoa – in combination with the deteriorated environmental conditions – causes the price of chocolate to rise again to a height as it had in earlier times, and perhaps it will become a luxury product in the future. This is unfortunate because chocolate is one of the most popular ingredients in the world. There is no end to the creative uses of it in the kitchen. But the easy way, like a delicious hot chocolate drank on a cold winter evening, is perhaps the best way to experience its divine taste.
Valentine’s Day will be on our doorstep soon. Some people find the feast characterless and too commercial. I think it’s just a good reason to receive a little box of chocolates and swallow it unscrupulously.
In Italy it is called San Valentino, but in Sweden it sounds more romantic: ‘alla hjärtans dag’ meaning ‘all heart’s day’ or the day we celebrate every body’s heart. Isn’t that beautiful?
I even think we shouldn’t limit ourselves to one day. Let us make a lot of desserts in February covered with chocolate! What harm could we do? After all, it is said that chocolate has a beneficial effect on our health and mental state. At home we have already started with a chocolate and semolina custard pie. You can find the recipe here on our website.
I also remember Charlie Bucket, the boy of Charlie and the chocolate factory, created by the British writer Roald Dahl. A poor boy who lived with his parents and grandparents in a small house in the same town as the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. When the eccentric but best producer of chocolate in the whole world holds a contest in his factory, Charlie gains his trust and will finally become Willy Wonka’s heir to the factory. His family is permitted to live there and will never go hungry again. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world with enough chocolate for everybody?