1 litre of water
100 g cocoa paste (cocoa powder with paste-like texture that comes from cocoa butter)
8 g achiote* (or ground nutmeg)
¼ vanilla pod
10 g whole peppercorns
4 g chili (or less if you prefer)
*For those not familiar with achiote (its Latin name is Bixa orellana), it comes from the Amazon where it is used as a dye. It is also used in cosmetics (to protect skin from the sun) as well as in the kitchen as a colouring agent and spice. As a medication, it can reduce fever and hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). Only the seeds are edible and their pleasantly sweet and fruity aroma with slightly bitter taste recall nutmeg. Which is why if you can’t find achiote seeds, you may substitute nutmeg.
Remember that this type of chocolate is very different from the traditional chocolate as we know it today. This mixture does not contain sugar, but, of course, you can add it for a smoother flavor. We recommend using cane sugar.
1) In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa paste with the water. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.
2) Add the vanilla pod, achiote or nutmeg, peppercorns and chili to the pan and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Remove the chocolate from the heat and whisk. You can whisk the chocolate by pouring it from one container to another several times two (e.g. a carafe and a pan) or with a hand whisk.
4) Whisk until the mixture forms a nice foam, then pour the chocolate into cups and serve.
Sit back and savor the bold flavors and the satisfying feeling that you have leapt back in time several centuries. Note that the chili and pepper flavours may be too strong for little ones. Adjust spices as needed before serving.