Cacao Cordial

TABLE Magazine’s Dutch correspondent, Marian Flint, brings us a story of Old World chocolate. The Netherlands is famous for its skill with this most seductive of sweets. Put in on your travel list…for next year? Meanwhile, try a delicious Cacao Cordial as the base of a holiday cocktail.

Just north of Amsterdam, near the Zaan River in Zaandijk, a bustling cacao industry took root in the first half of the 19thcentury.  The windmills in Zaandijk were used to grind the cacao beans.

A large amount of the world’s cacao beans is still processed in this region. Amsterdam is the worlds’ biggest transshipment port for cacao beans. Zaandijk attracts visitors from around the globe. Everyone always remarks about the aroma of chocolate in the air.

That’s why ‘Smells Like Chocolate’ is the name of Ingmar and Kinito’s shop. Here you can find craft chocolates from specialty producers from around the world. They recently visited cacao plantations in Kinito’s native country of Angola, and made chocolate with cocoa beans of Cabinda, which have a unique and delicious flavor. Their goal is to bring this unknown cacao origin to the market. They would like to share some of their recipes and would love to welcome you at Smells Like Chocolate when travel opens up again.

Cacao Cordial

 Yields 1 quart

5 oz cacao beans

1 orange

1-inch ginger piece, peeled

A clean muslin cloth

For the syrup:

1 pint of water

5 oz sugar

3 tsp of citric acid*

Spread the beans on a baking tray. Set the oven to 360 degrees and roast the beans for about 25 minutes. Allow them to cool and crush with a rolling pin. Scoop crushed beans into a large non-corrosive container (glass or plastic).

Scrub the orange and pare off the peel. Peel the ginger and grate. Add the orange peel and ginger to the cacao beans and cover with 1 quart of water. Cover and leave to steep for 24 hours. Strain the mixture the following day using a muslin cloth.

Meanwhile make the sugar syrup. Pour the water into a large saucepan and add the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow cooling to room temperature.

Stir in the citric acid (or lemon juice) and mix the cacao extract and syrup in equal parts. Stir well and pour into clean bottles that have a screw cap. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the bottles in the oven and heat thoroughly for 20 minutes. Remove from heat allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then screw on the bottle caps.

Unopened, the syrup will keep for at least 6 months. Store in the fridge after opening. Serve over ice with soda water or add a dash to your gin and tonic.

*Note: Citric acid occurs naturally in lemon juice. It adds tartness to the cordial and acts as a natural preservative. The quantity mentioned above can be substituted with 1 cup of lemon juice.

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