Notes on chocolate: it might be too hot to eat it, but we can still drink it
Summer is a difficult time for chocolate makers. Many pause deliveries during the hotter months or turn their hand to something else. Chocolate doesn’t like heat, for obvious reasons.
So this week I’m bringing you something a bit different: drinks. The first is by English Spirit, a small-scale distiller based close to me and which I first discovered at the excellent Lavenham Farmers’ Market. Let us not talk of the summer of the Raspberry Gin Liqueur, but instead of its Chocolate Clementine Liqueur, £18, which tastes wonderfully of chocolate and oranges, usually only available seasonally but bottled for now, just for Observer readers! There will only be 100 bottles.
The other drink du jour is Pacha de Cacao cocoa pulp juice – you heard it here first – made by Marika van Santvoort and sold by Cocoa Runners. The pulp, like the cocoa seeds it surrounds, differs in flavour according to where it was grown, as explained last week. Much cocoa pulp is thrown away, although it is made into drinks and puddings in some countries. It’s full of nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium, and some big companies have started using it as a sweetener (fructose).
I wasn’t expecting to like it but I loved it – though it doesn’t taste of chocolate (sorry), but like a very gentle pear/lychee juice. Although it has no added sugar it does have natural sugars. It is currently sold in bottles of six for £24.95 or two for £9.95. Not cheap, but a lovely non-boozy drink to serve yourself or your guests, chilled.