It was a hot, sticky day and I had been walking through the narrow medieval streets of Girona, Spain taking pictures. I was alone–no guide, no group of friends–alone. It was a wonderful feeling. I could take as much time as I wanted photographing the beautiful streets, buildings, windows, doors, statues and whatever else I discovered as I turned down each street and side road. I didn’t know where I was on the map and didn’t care. I felt free. Then I turned down a narrow dark street that began and ended with an arch and found myself in an open plaza with small cafés and shops.
Fifteen minutes before four in the afternoon and only the cafés were open. This was the hour of Spain’s siesta where stores close and people enjoy a time of comfort with friends and family over coffee, tea, soda, wine, or beer. I walked along the closed shops looking in the windows and found a bookstore that looked promising. I was not only here in Spain to take photographs but also hoped to find books on Spanish and Catalonian folktales. Fifteen minutes to wait till the store opened, what to do…
Across the plaza was a café with the word Xocolatería over its door. Chocolate–YES! It was a hot and sticky day with little air flowing through the streets but Spanish hot xocolate sounded soooooooooo good. I sat down and ordered some.
I had first tasted this wonderfully thick hot coco drink last year when in Barcelona with my family. So thick you needed a spoon and a churro to help you drink it. The Xocolatería didn’t have churros but they did have almendras—almond shaped cookies—that where just as good for dipping in the dark chocolate that had the consistency of Greek yogurt.
I went on line and there are lots and lots and lots of recipes. The trick is to heat it slowly on a low heat source and stir and stir and stir. I like using a large wire whisk to stir. You also need patience. It takes awhile to heat up and to thicken (20 minutes when I did it). Then it’s HOT so after it was poured in the cup I stirred it again to cool it down before I could drink it. I didn’t have any almendras or churros and the only cookies in the kitchen were my daughter’s Oreo cookies.
So I enjoyed the hot xocolate by itself and thought about how I would change it a little for the next time. With time and many more “tassas” I will have it perfected.
Xocolate boiling and thickening on low heat.
The recipe that I used is called Nana’s Spanish Style Hot Chocolate at:
What I like about this one is that it uses unsweetened coco powder and gives a choice between cornstarch or arrowroot (I buy Red Mill at a local health food store).