We are happy. Very happy. We’ve been drinking hot chocolate, and yes, before you ask, we slurp. It’s fine. Some friends have been whingeing lately about the non-stop rain, the cold, the winter blues… me, I haven’t even noticed.
By now we all know that chocolate contains antioxidants and endorphins. But I have to confess that our current joy is largely due to the fact that what we’ve been having is even better than mere hot chocolate. We’re talking true, authentic and exuberant ‘xocolata a la pedra’. If you go for a literal translation, I suppose you could call it ‘chocolate taken to the stone’, but of course no one would use this translation because it makes no sense. When I was little I used to think this thick slab of solid chocolate got its name because it was as hard as a rock and resembled a biblical tablet. Luckily I was wrong, and have been able to pass off years of drinking it with abandon as research. I can now confidently tell you that xocolata a la pedra actually takes its name from the way the chocolate was made. Pure cocoa beans were toasted over a fire and then ground while still hot to a fine powder on a large grinding stone, using a heavy stone roller. A lot of stone involved, as you can see. If you’re interested in the process and have the time, you’ll enjoy this period re-enactment and will see exactly what I mean.