Monday, August 04, 2008
Cabaret Brewed Chocolate
I remember first smelling the scent of coffee roasting in North Beach. I was a teenager and it was exotic and intoxicating like the City itself. Even though I didn't drink coffee, I loved that smell. Over the years whenever I've smelled fresh coffee, especially during roasting, it's been a combination of soothing and exciting to me, like the promise of something wonderful and dangerous. Sadly drinking coffee has never held the romance that smelling it does.
If you take the Scharffen Berger factory tour, and I highly recommend that you do, you will more than likely be enveloped by the scent of roasting cocoa beans. It is such a warm and happy scent it reportedly makes those who work there giddy. Even a few minutes will give you a profound sense of well-being. Having taken the tour twice, I've often wondered, would it be possible to make a drink out of the roasted beans? Not the cocoa powder or chocolate, but the roasted beans themselves, like coffee?
I'm happy to say, I'm not the only one with this quirky idea. After some experimentation Rob Polevoi created what he calls "brewed chocolate." Unlike hot chocolate it is low in calories and fat and high in antioxidants and theobromine, a gentle stimulant 10 times weaker than caffeine, that is rumored to be one of the compounds contributing to chocolate's role as an aphrodisiac. Oddly enough, Polevoi claims some people who drink the beverage, which comes in slightly sweetened concentrated syrup, find it relaxing, while others find it uplifting. Either way, it's a very light and delicious chocolatey beverage, unlike any other.
Try it as a nightcap or instead of coffee or tea if you are sensitive to caffeine like I am. You can drink it black, with milk or cream, hot, cold, with a shot of booze, any which way you like. If you like chocolate, I think you'll enjoy it. It's currently available online, from Cabaret Foods, $14.95 for a jar containing enough syrup for 24 servings.