Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Drinking Chocolate and Drawing Landscapes

When I was twelve I recall wandering into a bingo hall at St. Theresa Catholic School where I was currently doing time as a seventh grader and accidentally receiving an adult gamer-sized portion of Mexican hot chocolate one day after school while waiting for my mother to get off work down the street and come pick my latchkey self up. It was thick, murky, dark and had a milky skin on top and I was enamored with its dense presence and non-sugary swish in my mouth that coated the roof and my tongue with what could only be described as an inky Mayan black taint. I think my bittersweet cacao and coffee addictions were both born that day.

Fast forward over fifteen years later and I walk into the Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe, New Mexico where all they serve is various 6-ounce mugs of purely blended Mexican drinking chocolate concoctions from the mellow and average American dark to the exuberant and exotic, floral Mayan full spice. Without even tasting it, I spring for a $12.95 pouch of the Mayan full spice, trusting with my intuition that it will be right up my taste bud’s alley. The purveyor seems to sense my brotherhood of the chocolate-coated-tongue and gives me a taste, saying, “I want to make sure you like it before you buy because it is an intense taste.”

As I swish the first tablespoon into my mouth, my whole tongue is coated with the burst of herbs, flowers, chocolate and spices that is reminiscent of ancient Indian rituals done under the sun in the dusky earth and I nod a vehement YES to my purchase. Knowing I am the real deal for appreciating this particular tincture, the owner gives me a full free glass to go, of which I sip soulfully and remain high off of for hours.

The minute I get home from the plane back to California I head straight to the kitchen to try my own concoction, hoping it tastes like it did at the store. Three ounces of water are brought right up to the boiling point but not allowed to bubble and then three tablespoons of the magical granules are poured in and whisked to a frothy oblivion.

It was the perfect thing to sip while sketching the remains of landscape from my memories of the last week spent driving through hot and mesa-filled New Mexico horizons.

I will have to think of ways to now incorporate the gems into a mole! Ole!

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