Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hot Chocolate, a 17th c. Spanish Version

Image:  Melendez's, Bodeg√≥n con servicio de chocolate, 1770 - Museo del Prado  
The cakes of processed, spiced, and sweetened chocolate were grated to make hot chocolate.


Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma was a physician and surgeon from Andalusia is Spain. In 1631, he published one of the first ever treatises on the benefits of chocolate, including a variety of recipes for how to make it from the cacao bean and how to spice it for optimal flavor and medicinal benefits. The treatise was translated into English in 1652 by Captain James Wadsworth.  The 1652 English translation of the treatise is titled:


Chocolate: Or, An Indian Drinke.  Originally written in Spanish by Antonio Colmenero of Ledesma, Doctor in Physicke, and Faithfuly rendred in the English, By Capt. James Wadsworth, 1652.

Here are Some of Ledesma's Original Recipes (my interpretation is listed below):

Spanish Chocolate Receipt, The Receipt of him who wrote it at Marchena [Spain]
Of Cacaos, 700; of white sugar, one pound and a halfe; Cinnamon, 2 ounces; of long red pepper, 14. Of Cloves, halfe and ounce:  Three cods of the Logwood or Campeche tree; or in steade of that, the weight of 3 Reals, or a shilling of Anniseeds; as much Agiote, as will give the colour, which is about the quantity of a Hasell-nut.  Aome put in Almons, kernalls of Nuts, and Orange-flower-water.

 “The Best Receipt”[according to the author in the “the third Pointe” section]
To every 100. Cacaos, you must put two cods of the Chiles long red pepper, of which I have spoken before, and are called in the Indian Tongue, Chilparlagua; and  in stead of those of the Indes, you may take those of Spaine which are broadest, & least hot.  One handful of Anniseed Orejuelas, which are otherwise called Pinacaxlidos:  and two of the flowers, called Mechasuchil, if the Belly be bound.  But in stead of this, in Spaine, we put in six Roses of Alexandria beat to Powder:  One Cod of Campeche, or Logwood: Two Drams of Cinnamon; Almons, and Hasle-Nuts, of each one dozen:  Of White Sugar, halfe a pounde:  of Achiote enough to give it the colour.  And if you cannot have those things, which come from the Indes, you may make it with the rest.

Modern Recipe Adaptation   17th c. Style Spanish Hot Chocolate, 
Serves 4

Spanish Hot Chocolate, c. 1631
Serves 4

4 Cups Water
4 Ounces Dark Chocolate (preferably at least 84% chocolate), scraped into slivers with a serrated knife, or You Can Use Chocolate Chips
1/4-1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar, to Taste
2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
Chocolate Spice Mixture (below)
Milk, to taste (optional)*

Chocolate Spice Mixture
Once mixed, you can add this to any chocolate recipe.

1 Teaspoon True Ceylon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Annatto

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Star Anise



Boil the water in a large saucepan.  Add the chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and spices.  Stir very well with a whisk until the chocolate and sugar are dissolved and the mixture begins to froth.   Pour into four large serving mugs and serve hot.  

*Note:  Ledesma does include versions of hot chocolate with milk.  If milk is desired, you could substitute the water for milk and follow the rest of the directions as stated while bearing in mind the milk should be heated to a simmer, not boiled.








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