Gimme a chocolate, and make it a double!

The modern practice of eating chocolate in solid form is a mere blip in the long history of chocolate as a beverage. The Mayan and Aztec recipes in Coe’s masterpiece The True History of Chocolate all describe a drink, flavored with nuts and chiles, consumed as a froth, sometimes over a bed of corn. Liquid chocolate (that’s not just flavored milk) can be a much more intense hit of chocolate flavor than nibbling a bar. My favorite way to drink chocolate is to sneak off to the Ferry Building Market in San Francisco (also home to Recchutti Chocolate’s store), and grab an Eastern European style hot chocolate at Boulette’s Larder. Boulette’s is more or less how foodies picture paradise. It’s a combination cafe and culinary apothocary. They sell exotic spices, salts, oils, and stocks made in house. The cafe side of the operation cooks up pure goodness from the ingredients that show up at the market, or are growing in some friend’s backyard. Their hot chocolate is a Sharffen Berger based drink, balanced with cream and some other mystery goodness. Going on Sunday morning, you can build a brunch around a mug of the chocolate and their crunchy, eggy, addictive beignets (ie. the Platonic ideal of a donut.) The beignets are always accompanied by some unusual and tasty side, which might be tangerine dust, Italian lemon curd, yuzu jam, or any number of other exotic spreads they keep in the pantry. They are very nearly good enough to make you forget the chocolate.

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