Monday, January 24, 2005

Chantico Review

This weekend I went up to Pasadena to exchange a gift and decided that the confluence of events meant it was time to try the new “drinking chocolate” from Starbucks known as Chantico(tm).

I got a Starbucks card charged up with $20 from some co-workers and there I was at a mall with a cafe.

But let me back up about 22 years.

When I was in college I took at trip to Spain with my high school Spanish class. When we got to Madrid, we were too early to check into our hotel. It was barely mornining (about six am) so our tour guides and chaperones took us to Plaza Mayor where we walked the quiet plaza with it’s grand arches and huge space that would later in the day be filled with throngs of touristas and Madrilenos. We rested there for an hour with our empty cameras and had churros y chocolate.

Oh, Man! The stuff was like hot pudding, thick and flavorful and of course the plainness and crunch of the churros was the perfect compliment. There was nothing like this available back in Mechanicsburg and I was in love.

When I got to college, I enjoyed a Sunday morning tradition with my live-in boyfriend at the time - a bagel and Mexican hot chocolate. We’d walk from our little two bedroom apartment (that we shared at one time with three other guys) about a half a mile through the Arcata Plaza to Los Bagels. Not only was this my first exposure to Ibarra hot chocolate (which they made the right way with milk), but also this is where I fell in love with guacamole. Yes, my Sunday breakfast was a garlic bagel with heaps of fresh guacamole and a hot chocolate.

I’ve been searching for that Spanish drinking chocolate ever since. Granted, my tastes have changed quite a bit since I was sixteen. My substitute has been hot pudding. That’s right, I make Jell-o Cook & Serve pudding and then eat it before it sets. But it’s pudding and it’s never chocolately enough for me.

Chantico comes in one size. And that’s not a bad idea. It’s only six ounces and before you go saying, “where’s my grande!” you don’t need more than six ounces.

It is smooth, hot and sweet but has a wonderful mouth feel (see the fat content on this stuff). The chocolate flavor sticks around and gives a slight dryness to it (so much so that I recommend some water with whatever you’re having).

I think it’s great. But it really is very chocolately and I think it’s best served with a pastry that’s not sweet. This is not something you’d have a pecan sweet roll with. I think a plain scone or croissant is a good compliment, and if you went with something flavored, I think I’d stick to raspberry.

So, my long search for that European-style thick drinking chocolate is over. Is this something I’ll swig like coffee? Certainly not. It’s a drink for enjoying like a dessert or maybe a full meal. Yes, I’ll go back and order it again. After all, it was a $20 Starbucks card ... I’ve got six more waiting there for me!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:30 pm    

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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.