Magazine article Sunset

Ultimate Chocolate Milk

Magazine article Sunset

Ultimate Chocolate Milk

Article excerpt

Start with cocoa beans from a Latino market

THE BEST CHOCOLATE MILK we've ever tried." That's the first thing tasters say about Myriam Paiz's special Nicaraguan recipe. Then they ask how she gets the creamy texture and unusually good flavor. Her secret? Cocoa beans, rice, and cinnamon--typical chocolate milk ingredients to Nicaraguans but a little unusua to North Americans.

Rice gives the drink body. Freshly roasted cocoa beans--just chocolate in a mor elemental form--add a fresh, complex flavor. The cinnamon gives a subtle spiciness.

Paiz roasts the beans until they crackle, and soaks rice to soften it. Then she pulverizes these ingredients with water in a blender, strains the mixture, and adds milk, sugar, and vanilla.

Many Latino markets sell cocoa beans. Or you can order them by mail from Alimen Research, 751 Laurel St., Suite 434, San Carlos, Calif. 94070. Minimum order is 5 pounds. The cost fluctuates with the market (the current price is $1.92 a pound); shipping is extra.

Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk

(Orchata de cacao)

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

2 cups (about 2/3 lb.) cocoa beans

4 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 in.), broken into 1-inch pieces

8 cups whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1 cup sugar

Ice (optional)

Place rice in a bowl, cover with cool water, and let stand to soften somewhat, to 24 hours; drain. …

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