I had been meaning to post this for this month’s round of Sugar High Friday, a blogging event in celebration of sweets started by the Domestic Goddess. This month’s host is the esteemed David Lebovitz and the theme he has chosen is Chocolate…by brand. Food bloggers were invited to make something with chocolate (but of course!) and talk about the brand used, and why it was chosen. There are many reasons to choose a certain brand of chocolate, but one of the reasons David mentions stood out for me: “…Or you bought your chocolate on a trip and were saving it for some special occasion…” Ah, yes. I did indeed own one such chocolate.
Unfortunately, I am late. Sigh…my brain must have been all fizzy when I read the instructions…especially the part about the deadline. Of course, I was not going to let a little tardiness keep me from enjoying a delicious hot drink made with a very special block of chocolate, bought during a very special trip. So here I am…with a luscious hot chocolate made with Amatller chocolate a la taza.
I came upon this little treasure on my honeymoon. We visited one of my absolute favorite cities in the world…Barcelona. Barcelona vibrates with a special beat and rhythm all its own…and it has a fair share of excellent chocolate. Although I already have my favorites, this new discovery was much welcomed. Here’s a little bit about this chocolate's provenance as taken from my previous post:
Casa Amatller is one of the three buildings that make up the famous “manzana de la discordia” (block of discord or apple of discord). The “manzana de la discordia” is made up of what is said to be the three finest modernist buildings in the entire city: Casa Batllo by Antoni Gaudi, Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and Casa Lleo-Morera by Lluis Domenech i Montaner. The three buildings can be found side by side on the Passeig de Gracia, each stunning façade competing for your attention (hence the discord). The building was bought in 1898 by chocolate industrialist Antoni Amatller, and you can buy their chocolates inside. Entranced by their gorgeous packaging, delicious looking offerings, and the girl at the register telling me my Spanish was very good, we happily purchased the following: Amatllons (which are what they call their catanies), more dark chocolate, and a block of chocolate for drinking (which is their own special blend with a touch of cinnamon). You can find them at Passeig de Gracia 41.
Casa Amatller (along with Casa Batllo and Casa Lleo-Morera) is magical. Its whimsical, almost fairy-tale like façade hosts many little creatures in nooks and crannies, all operating instruments used in the early days of chocolate making. So if you do see it, take time to really explore the detailing. Although the house itself is closed to the public, they still sell the Amatller chocolates on the ground floor. (I have heard rumors though that Casa Amatller will be opened and that a lot of the original furniture is still intact! That will definitely be something to see!)
As instructed, I melted 2 small blocks of the chocolate in 1 cup of milk that I had been heating on the hob. Then, in a fit of chocolate madness, I tossed another block in. At first glance it looked like regular breakfast chocolate, milky and not too dark. But as I took my first sip, and let its delicious-ness shimmy down my throat, I was totally won over. Not as thick as the hot chocolate made here or the classic ones you get in the old granjas, but it is rich nonetheless, perfectly suited to sipping, and kissed with just a wee bit of cinnamon (as the very amiable girl at the shop promised).
In line with it being a special occasion, what with me bringing out the little cache of honeymoon goodies, I decided to enjoy my chocolate in my new pot and cup set, a belated wedding present from one of my favorite cousins. Isn’t it adorable? The best part is it stacks up nicely and you can place it on display instead of storing it in your (already overflowing) cupboard. It’s made by a very talented local artist named Impy Pilapil who works with all kinds of media and has exhibited all over the world.
This may not have made it to this month’s SHF, but it definitely made for a cozy afternoon, where both the reminiscing and the chocolate exuded a special warmth. What more could one ask for? :)