Monday, March 28, 2011

Spanish monks can not keep a secret

And for that, I thank them.

Of course we must thank the Aztecs for chocolate, also acknowledge Columbus, and er...while I don't particularly feel like thanking Cortez for anything, he certainly realized that chocolate was the next big thing.

The Spanish aristocracy was smitten. Spain wisely and quietly began planting cacao in its overseas colonies, which gave birth to a very profitable business. Remarkably enough, the Spanish succeeded in keeping the art of the cocoa industry a secret from the rest of Europe for nearly a hundred years. Cheeky tarts!

So there were these Spanish monks see, who had been consigned to process the cacao beans for the mucky-mucks profiteering. After a night of feasting on chocolate and partaking of aged spirits - I can't say this is exactly how it happened but, it's how I like to imagine it - they got a little chatty with some fellows from the nearby village and spilled the beans. Once the secret was out, chocolate was on everyone's lips.

When The Engineer's folks were here last, my mother in-law spent an afternoon with me showing me how to make chocolates. It was so much fun, and now I have a rather fantastic (possibly dangerous) skill to add to my repertoire.

We made hand rolled truffles with different coatings. The toasted almond were my personal favorite. I don't know that I will ever become a master at the rolling of the truffles, apparently I have hot hands. These 'hot hands' of mine melt the chocolate too rapidly and it all becomes a rather slippery, misshapen mess. Perhaps if I could find me some temperature controlled gloves...anyway they may have looked a little funny but they tasted lovely.

Nancy brought along some chocolate molds and we set about making chocolate cherries, how fancy is that?

At the end there was some chocolate left, and there were strawberries. I'm certain you would have come to the same conclusion we did.

Thank you so much Nancy! What a sweet and messy happy afternoon. You can also be sure that I have been dreaming up new flavors and experiments in my mind for days now.
I have a feeling a few of you who have managed it to the end of this post, are now quietly making your way to the pantry just to check, you know, in case you might need a bit of chocolate for later.

15 comments:

Lindsay Jewell said...

Oh my gosh. Those look amazing! And good call on the chocolate + strawberries. Good call, indeed.

Vic said...

Well now I want chocolate & we haven't a single piece in the house! Thanks Ms Lola, thanks a lot! :p

Vintage Tea Time said...

They do look yummy. I think MR VTT wrote about cacao in his recent book - 'Fifty plants that changed the course of history' -http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fifty-Plants-Changed-Course-History/dp/0715338544/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301386827&sr=8-1
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greenrabbitdesigns said...

What an absolutely gorgeous post! Yummmmy. :)
Thank goodness for 'aged spirits' or the beans might never have been spilt! ;)
Guess what I need now?
Vivienne x

lifeshighway said...

Beautiful chocolates. I gain 5 pounds lust looking at them. You must have a lot of control and self discipline.

Flaming Nora said...

As I sit here eating the dregs of my dreary vegetable soup, I ask my self "What does she think she's up to?" doesn't she know some of are on diets? Yesterday it was cake and now THIS! I will have the will power, I will have the will power. Any way off now to see if there are any dry crackers in the cupboard....

Boom Boom Shabam said...

I too have hot hands (though I didn't know thats what they were called). I wash them often and keep a mister spray with water. The soft truffle filling doesn't stick to my hands if they are just a little wet. Hope that helps.

Oh and I start with a mellon baller so it begins mostly round.

Sherri B. said...

You know the saying "warm hands, warm heart"...Now I do want chocolate, actually I always want it and if I learned how to make it I would be in huge trouble. My hubby loves chocolate covered cherries and Santa has to bring them every year, maybe I could learn how to make those for him. Thanks for sharing your new accomplishment looks like you are a fast learner.

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

Yum! My hubby would love me forever if I acquired your new skill.

Janee Lookerse said...

Those hand rolled truffles look SO FREAKING GOOD! I've been thinking about making cookie balls dipped in chocolate this weekend.... perhaps you have some tips for me about "hand rolling"? Although, I may have the same issue as you. I have very hot hands. The Beard always says I make his hands sweat when we hold hands :) I'm assuming hand rolling is much different than melting in a double boiler and dipping right?

xoxo
J
yellowbirdyellowbeard.blogspot.com

Bobo Bun said...

Was it bad of me to lick the screen? They look so good and ooohhh I do love chocolate sooo. Sounds a great afternoon and a great party too, just what you needed to wrap yourself in the good times.


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jus said...

Yeah well I don't really like chocolate..... haaahaaaaaaahhaaaaaahhaahaaaaahahaa!
Delicious post x

Annabelle said...

Ohlalalala... these look gorgeous!! I've made truffles once before (just the once so far, very very dangerous indeed!). Tis tricky with hot hands! x

Mom L said...

Ohhhhhh, drooling on my keyboard. I THINK I hid some chocolate in the freezer; must. go. look. now!!!

Nancy in Iowa

diane said...

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