When I was 7 my parents went to Holland for a week for a conference. It was an odd time in my life, my mother had just had her first “illness” that was to tell of things to come, but they had gone anyway. It was I think she was giving a paper or she and my god-father were giving a paper. Anyway I was left with my aunt and uncle for the week, which in my mind was heaven.
When they returned they had gifts for me, as all good parents traveling across the world do. there was the complimentary wooden clogs, a traditional dress (which still is in my closet waiting for a daughter to arrive, or a niece. But the gift I loved the most was the metal tin of Droste coco. Inside the box was coco and directions for making it. I remember how each square of the folded paper had the instructions in a different language; the only other place I had seen that many languages was in the beginning of the old encyclopedia that was in the living room.
Before then I was strictly a Quick girl. But as my mom and I mixed the coco sugar and water into a paste and waited for the milk to warm I fell in love with the process. Watching it swirl as the heated milk landed in the cup was wonderful. Then I tasted it and knew that I was truly in love. Of course this was precious commodity in my mind, and I made it last. I decided that for every day hot coco and chocolate milk I would drink Quick (I am sure my parents had something to do with this idea of mine) but on special weekends it would be the Droste coco. So the tin lived up at the cabin and lasted three years.
Life became chaotic around the time that the coco ran out and I didn’t think much about it until years later when I was in high school. After a few meals out with friends to “nice” restaurants I found that I always felt embarrassed or bored. I had grown up eating out with my parents more than most children (they believed that I should be included in everything), so I had already sat through many dinners many courses while the anthropologists talked for hours. While I no longer had access to that world I wanted to enjoy my meals, even if they were lunch. So started my habit of taking myself and a book out to lunch at one of a few “grownup” restaurants.
One of them “Elephant and Castle” had on the menu pot of chocolate, which was unsweetened and very dark. the first time I had it I didn’t know it was unsweetened so I drank it strait. It reminded me of coffee, so I only added a little sugar to make it tolerable to my 14 year old tongue. I felt very grownup sitting there with my book, usually short stories that I would borrow from my father and my unsweetened coco. Since then I have been dedicated to good coco (I still like Quick when it comes to chocolate milk).
Today I don’t squirm when I see the price I am paying for the bags of Dutch Processed Coco, one bag may be three dollars but it makes over ten pots of coco. And when we have coco in the mornings we are less likely to go to the coffee shop and spend two or three dollars on a cup of coffee. Alder is being brought up on he good stuff. I rather him have good taste when it comes to his drinks and I get to control how much sugar he’s getting.
Here is my coco recipe:
Makes five or six small cups
Dutch Processed Coco
1. Put milk in pot, preferably one with a top, and turn on medium.
2. Add 2 Tbs of coco then add 1 3/4 Tbs of sugar
3. Whisk all ingredients and cover (you may need a spoon to pour milk over the sides to keep it from sticking to them)
4. Warm until steaming but not boiling (boiling causes the awlful skim on top)
5. Pour into cups.
6. When all that is left in the pot is the sludge add some more milk, stir and heat again.
Some people like to add a pinch of salt to mellow the flavor but to get the sharpness of the coco leave it out.