The weather had been near perfect for our holiday vacation, but on the morning we were to leave – it turned chilly. Our driver was beautifully spoken, a blend of British and French perhaps, he too remarked on the chill in the air. We spoke of citrus groves and sugar cane fields long gone from Central Florida’s -Orlando; now covered with hotels, shopping malls, hotels and amusement parks; of how the cooler weather this year would affect the prices of fresh fruit later on.
I recalled, as a child, seeing fresh cut sugar cane stalks which looked like thick dark green bamboo. How we would stop at roadside stands and buy a stalk or two- stripped of the dark green outer stalk and trimmed into bite size pieces. The sugar cane is so fibrous, it can’t be eaten, however- the juice was so fresh and sweet. Our driver remarked how he enjoyed that treat too. And, he said he missed his Morning Chocolate which used fresh sugar cane juice. I asked where he was from- ‘Dominica.’ was the reply. Then he told me how his Morning Chocolate was made. I almost swooned- a Caribbean Hot Chocolate! Who would think of such a wonderful spicy blend? Made for decades, it sounded more like an updated health food concoction that wasn’t blended up into green juice! Hot, spicy, chocolate with coconut milk- amazing!
This past week, while recovering from a seasonal cold and trying in vain to have a good attitude about the cold spell we’ve been having… I recalled the heavenly concoction our driver described. That Caribbean Hot Chocolate was so good, I surely had it wrong…I checked my hastily scribbled notes and tried it again- for research purposes only… who am I kidding? I wanted another cup of Caribbean Hot Chocolate! Still. I checked the nutritional values and I am happy to report- it appears to have significant health benefits! Since the driver never claimed to have a name for his Morning Chocolate- and never gave me the exact measurements- and given the fact, that Dominica is certainly south of here…don’t you know I’m gonna claim it? Here’s how you make… Camellia’s Caribbean Hot Chocolate
You will need:
- Dark Cocoa Powder
- Cane Sugar Syrup
- Coconut Milk
- Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg- preferably freshly grated.
- Blend 1 cup of Cane Sugar Syrup with 2 Tablespoons Dark Cocoa Powder in a small saucepan and heat until combined. (*If you aren’t able to find Cane Sugar Syrup- you may make a cane sugar syrup with equal parts cane sugar- preferably unrefined -and water.
- Heat until sugar has melted thoroughly, chill and store in a jar indefinitely in the refrigerator. *You may also substitute dark chocolate instead of cocoa- melt it thoroughly in sugar syrup, blend until smooth.
- When combined, add 1 cup of Coconut Milk (low fat or light coconut milk is recommended- especially if you are using dark chocolate instead of cocoa, or if you are watching calories… and who isn’t?)
- Heat until very warm but do not boil. Pour into mug or coffee cup. Finish with a fresh grating of nutmeg and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, to taste. Enjoy!
Now, I’m not sophisticated enough to give you the nutritional values, however this is a plant based non-dairy hot chocolate.
- Coconut milk has been shown to improve the immune system, provide essential electrolytes, helpful minerals like magnesium and iron; great for stress and relieves muscle tension, improves digestion and the protein found in Coconut Milk almost makes it an energy drink!
- Dark Chocolate or Cocoa is an antioxidant and is said to help heart and brain function and more!
- Those probiotics so many are fond of, generally include Nutmeg as an ingredient which aids digestion, Nutmeg has also been called a Brain Tonic, relieves pain, and some say is a natural sleep aid (making it a good bedtime drink as well!)
- Cinnamon is well known for health benefits- with antioxidant properties and as an anti-inflammatory.
Now, I’m not ready to say- it was the cure for my Common Cold but it sure made recovery more pleasant! Our best wishes to our wonderful driver from the Commonwealth of Dominica- I wish I knew your name! All of the ingredients were native to his beautiful homeland with it’s natural hot springs, volcano and botanical gardens! Warm Winter Wishes! I hope you’ll try this Caribbean Hot Chocolate whether you’re fit as a fiddle or under the weather!
Love y’all, Camellia
*p.s. A big thank you for the Winter Mug from sweet Paula! And..I used a cane sugar syrup made right here in Alabama for over 100 years -ALAGA -Cane Sugar Syrup made by Whitfield Foods, Montgomery, Alabama. (334) 263-2541. (This is a blend of corn syrup and cane syrup) You may be able to find cane sugar syrup in health food stores or online at Amazon.com