Some of my most memorable experiences while travelling have involved chocolate.
The spot of honour in any post about chocolate would have to go to Mexico, the country where chocolate originated. Mexico is the only country I know where chocolate is traditionally used in savoury dishes.
Mole Coloradito (red mole), also known as Manchamanteles (tablecloth stainer). Mole Coloradito, made with chiles and chocolate, is incredibly rich. (We made this in my Mexican cooking class on the food of Oaxaca.)
Columbus carried the chocolate bean to Spain, along with other New World products such as vanilla and sugar cane, where it became popular served as a very thick hot chocolate drink.
The tradition of hot chocolate also headed to South America. Here is breakfast at the Tortoni, one of the most famous cafés in Buenos Aires: café con leche & medialunas, chocolate & churros. My friend and I went there and made a video to accompany our Spanish courses. France, next door to Spain soon adopted chocolate, excelling in coming up with desserts containing explosions of chocolate in sublime textures such as this Mousse au Chocolate (in Orange Crème with Orange Confit). Another unforgettable chocolate dessert was the Profiteroles I had in Paris in the 70s. If you see them on a menu go for it!
A typical Hanoi breakfast is a Petit Pan au Chocolat & Café au Lait made with French-roast coffee grown in Vietnam. The French influence on Vietnam means chocolate shows up everywhere including a memorable Chocolate Silk Pie in Hoi An.
Chocolate doesn’t seem too popular in Asia outside of the former French colonies of Indochina but I did see these over-sized monkeys handing out banana-chocolate milk at the JJ market in Bangkok.
Back in Europe, next door to France, Belgium excels at making the most delicious dark chocolate. Al’s mom took him to Daskalides in Ghent when he was six and he has never forgotten the experience. Or the name. When we found it was still there of course we had to go in and purchase a bunch, and I am sure we will be remembering them still 50 years into the future!
Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Chocolate