I am coming close to missing this deadline of Click. I knew the minute the theme was announced what my Liquid Comfort was going to be. Hot Chocolate. But not just any chocolate, but Trini home chocolate, made from home grown cocoa, mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and bay leaf. This was a regular weekend morning breakfast drink at home. Mom would boil the bars of chocolate, and add milk and sugar or condensed milk. The drink was always gritty with the cocoa solids and spices, so it had to be strained, which we did over the sink since we had iffy coordination. Although the packaging said simply dissolve in hot water, we always boiled it with the water, milk and sugar. So my memories include scalded tongues for the rest of the weekend, because who could wait with the scent of cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg wafting up at you.
Home chocolate, or cocoa tea, isn’t the most beautiful looking of drinks, so maybe it wasn’t the wisest choice for a photo event. Particularly with my lack of experience on staging food, and perfectly lit places in my apartment. The natural oils in the cocoa can seep upwards, and the top of the drink gets a dark sometimes gritty sheen. If you boil it with the milk, you also can get a little cracking in that darkness. Not the creamy richness, or milky goodness of other hot chocolate drinks, topped with marshmallows or whipped cream (both of which, for the record, I don’t really like), but it’s good. And it’s home for me. I don’t know why certain chain cafes in Trinidad sell “Mexican Spiced” hot chocolate, when we have our very own spicy chocolate mixture. Sigh. Regard this as my bid to start commercial availability chocolate-tea, Trini-style, at all those trendy habitual hot-drink establishments.
Trinidad cocoa has a history behind it. We developed a pest resistant strain of fine cocoa, that survived ravages to the cocoa industry decades ago. The Wikipedia entry for cacao: “Trinitario, a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, is used in about 10% of chocolate.”. But that’s not all that makes it famous; cacao trinitario is a gourmet item. We know our cocoa here…or we should. The truth is, the elite cocoa is sold almost directly from the Gran Couva estate to European chocolate purveyors. Valhrona created history, for example, in creating vintage chocolate by single domains. And Trini cocoa was used in one of the lines:
By creating Gran Couva, Valrhona was the first in the world of chocolate to produce the first vintage domain chocolate. Its taste is unique as it comes from a single domain.
In Trinidad in the Caribbean, on the domain of Gran Couva, some of the best cacao varieties are grown – the Trinitarios. We have selected the most promising cocoa beans from among the best batches of this Domain for their delightful aroma.
There is only a limited quantity of each vintage.
But what I had this morning was just good old home chocolate. I don’t know the vintage, or the precise estate and perhaps my nostalgia is the dominant element of my enjoyment. That’s not a problem. I present to you options for my entry into Click for January 2008.
I have until January 30 to submit my entry, and I don’t know which one to submit. If anyone has any ideas (other than re-shoot, since this is the 2nd attempt) I’d appreciate them! Right now, I’m leaning towards the first or last photo. I am not expecting to win any prizes (the current entries include some simply fantastic shots) but it’s hard for me to decide when I can only see the flaws.
I have now decided. After looking at them intermittently all day, I think the last shot should go to Bee and Jai for CLICK! I need to move away from my preference for closeups in food shots.
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