This weekend (3/9 and 3/10) is the Miami Fine Chocolate & Food Show at Pinecrest Gardens. Chefs and exhibitors will give out samples of chocolates, desserts and other food and drink (the $35 ticket price includes 15 samples). There will be chocolate sculpting, as well as food demonstrations with chefs from Miami Culinary Institute including Norman Van Aken. Some of the chocolate exhibitors include Pacari, Flying Noir, Sweet Treats Brigadeiro and Ana Paz Cakes.
Below is my variation on a recipe Chef Allen Susser kindly provided for St. Lucian chocolate tea. Susser is, of course, one of the Mango Gang chefs who drew attention to Miami’s food scene in the 1990s, and he’s the former chef at the long-running Chef Allen restaurant. Now he consults for a variety of restaurants. Susser is partner and consulting chef of Daily Melt, which just opened a spot in Midtown.
Susser also consults at the Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia. The chef till give a talk this weekend at the festival: “Bean to Bar: The Story of Owning an Organic Farm in St. Lucia.” He’ll also demonstrate how he makes St. Lucian chocolate tea.
In his recipe, Susser uses a traditional St. Lucian cocoa stick. Since I didn’t have access to one and I’m not exactly certain of the thickness, consider this a loose adaptation, albeit a tasty one. This recipe adds some spice to hot chocolate, but not the smoldering kind one tastes in Mexican hot chocolate. This is Caribbean spice: star anise, bay leaf and nutmeg.
My adaptation is rich, so use more milk if you like your hot chocolate to be a little thinner. Because of the richness, I consider a serving to be about a half-mug of the hot chocolate.
St. Lucian Chocolate Tea (Hot Chocolate)
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Allen Susser
Makes about 5 servings (a serving is half a mug)
About 20 minutes
4 ounces unsweetened cocoa power
1/2 tablespoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of mace
Pinch of cayenne powder
2 cups milk (add more if you prefer a thinner consistency)
1 whole bay leaf
1 whole star anise
1 whole vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
Garnish: cinnamon sticks (optional)
1. In a small mixing bowl combine the chocolate, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cayenne.
2. In a small saucepan warm the milk. Stir to avoid scalding.
3. Add the bay leaf, star anise, vanilla bean, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and whisk in the chocolate mixture. Whisk well as it cooks to prevent lumping. Simmer the mixture for eight to ten minutes until slightly thickened and rich.
4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you want to be all fancy.