Sugar to sweeten it, spices to flavor it and draw ever more precious notes from its enveloping delicacy. Since the beginning of the triumphal coming of cocoa in Europe from the New World, vanilla, pepper, chilli, cinnamon were the exotic companies of the exciting drink, which was prepared by reducing the seeds contained in the fruits of the tropical tree to powder, after the necessary roasting.
Cocoa or chocolate
Said chocolate from the Aztec "cacahuatl", then scientifically baptized Theobroma or food of the gods, thatelixir it unleashed a kind of sensory fury, a rapture never achieved by any other food ever in history. At the Florentine court of the Medici, in an environment of "super-enthusiasts" of botany and naturalistic experiments, local fruits and flowers, such as jasmine, citrus fruits, orange juice and peel, were combined with the precious powder of cocoa seeds.
The versatility of cocoa in the kitchen
Its irresistible rise has since continued into one infinite range of uses and products. Starting with the well-known unions with the liqueurs. Cocoa, king of a thousand sweets and desserts, has also entered a series of savory preparations. Where, however, being bitter by nature, it should be used with caution. In the nineteenth century it began to be combined with birds, for example pheasants, partridges, quail, and game, such as wild boar and hare "in dolceforte". Roe deer was often cooked with cocoa or served with a chocolate sauce. Catalan cooks of the past bravely used it, along with cinnamon, to cook lobster. It goes well with turkey, beef and pork. In Italy, noodles and some ravioli stuffed with meat, but also with aubergines and cheese are added to the flour. Excellent and unusual, first of all for the color, are also the potato gnocchi with cocoa: as well as with the usual melted butter and flaked cheese, you can dress them with broad beans and speck or with ricotta and raisins, which with the sweet taste will contrast well with the bitterness of cocoa. The union of ricotta and cocoa it is a classic, but generally all dairy products lend themselves to the encounter. For the aperitif, prepare one cream of mixed cheeses sprinkled with cocoa: served with salt-free breadsticks or mini-plates.