The history of the country is steeped in chocolate.
That man of the seas, one Christopher Columbus, is famed for coming back from his explorations with all kinds of goodies. I have always thought he must have had one enormous ship if he truly did sail back to Spain with everything the history books claim.
He excitedly brought back a substance known as txocolatl. But the new wonder, later to be named chocolate, will not have taken up too much room. Having had his sailings funded by the conquering Queen of Spain, the notorious Isabella, he rushed to her side to say: "taste this."
She did and she didn't like what she tasted. At that moment she may well have queried if selling her jewels to fund Christopher's 'jolly' to new lands had been a mistake. As her reputation was one for cruelty, she may have preferred him to bring her the head of an American.
But chocolate did catch on in Spain. People got used to its dark appearance and set about making the taste less bitter.
They fiddled with its preparation and came up with a hot chocolate drink. One still popular to this day.
Not being mad on hot spices (some things in Spain never change!), they removed the spicier elements of chocolate and instead added cinnamon and sugar.
As years passed the recipe became pretty standard. 28 grams of chocolate and 57 grams of sugar boiled in a quart of hot water.
The drink was created in a fireproof pot made of copper.They would remove the lumps so ensuring a much smoother to taste the drink. But, as is the case still today, a thick in texture hot chocolate drink.
We have all heard of tea sets.Well, the Spanish came up with a chocolate service set. Often in silver or porcelain and with a handle.
But how would they drink it? What would they use?
They set about creating the Mancerina. To the naked something akin to a saucer. It has an inner ring that fits into also called Jicara. In Spanish homes today I still see older people drink chocolate this way. Needless to say, the device was named after someone who could afford several saucers of chocolate. Pedro Alvarez de Toledo and Leiva were the first Marquis of Mancera and viceroy of New Spain.
A stern looking man with whose hands shook often. TheMancerina guaranteed no spillage. The drinking device caught on and they soon became commonplace in Spanish homes.
Then, as now, the Spanish will often have a glass of water served alongside their hot chocolate. The latter makes you thirsty and, although it gives you an energy boost, it can also leave you wanting to drink plenty of water.
To be a chocolatier in Spain is to know you will always have customers; people who love to dip almost any food into a cup of hot chocolate, churros always being the favorite.
Now why didn't Christopher Columbus sail to Spain with churros? That would have been some discovery!