Introduction: How to Eat Mexican Chocolate and Fear the Swiss
This stuff is really good. Ibarra brand "sweet chocolate" containing "cacao nibs" is intended for making hot cocoa, but I've never tried it that way. I just smack it on something solid to break it into pie shaped wedges and eat it. If you prefer to drink it, here's how to do that.
Nestle, a Swiss company, makes a competing product called "Abuelita" that's not nearly as good. There are good reasons why Mexicans make such better chocolate than the Swiss.
Cacao, the tree that produces chocolate, doesn't grow in Switzerland. It grows here in the New World, where it was cultivated to perfection by eons of careful Central and South Americans. Like Corn, Potatoes, and almost everything else we now eat, it was created here and was unknown in the Old World.
Theobromine, a psychoactive component of chocolate, is a latinization of the Aztec word for chocolate, "food of the gods". Chocolate was the sacrament of their religion.
By contrast the Swiss cultivate and worship grass. Do not step on a Swiss person's lawn unless you are a cow. That's not what it's for. As a child in Bern Switzerland I once stepped on some. I heard an unearthly scream as a woman in an embroidered costume came charging at me with some sort of club in her hand.
I'm not sure if it was a rolling pin, it's been a long time and I was totally panicked. I've read since that rolling pins are rarely used as weapons, so it was probably something else, a trivet or maybe a rosette iron.
This was before Swiss women were given the right to vote so it wouldn't have been a voting sword. They vote by holding swords aloft, a medeival custom.
My babysitter was also panicked and fled with me. She was an American woman named Gay, who was unable to live in English speaking countries. The word "gay" had just started to mean "homosexual" and homophobia was prevalent.
We ran for miles through that impeccable gingerbread town with rasping lungs, the screaming harpy hot on our heels... I'm sorry. This really happened and the crazy details are only because they are true. Back to the chocolate.
Step 1: Smack It and Crack It
Then eat it and feel good. It's amazingly cheap. At Berkeley Bowl it's $2.50 for more than a pound.
My friends who are chocolate connosieurs especially like it.
I didn't know I had friends like this until I started pushing the "brown brick".
One such pal was practically weeping and thanking me for the best thing I'd ever done for him. He then opened a special cupboard and revealed his supply of raw and dried cacao and variously processed chocolates arranged by nation of origin and other traits.
Apparently he was blessed with a profound appreciation for the stuff and vast resources. An interesting guy. He'd convinced himself and some elite backers that he could produce an artificial intelligence. He cloistered himself in his Manhattan apartment with computers and a grand piano. He eliminated all other distractions from his life so he could proceed. The apartment happened to be the one from the movie "ghostbusters". Quite a nice place. My friend's situation was more like the movie "Pi" but more upscale. Sorry. Another digression.
The point is that this stuff is really good, and the more refined your taste the more you'll appreciate it.