1 Aug 2014

Spanish and Australian chocolates


Among the myriad of petty things that annoy me on a daily basis, there’s the constant references to how much women like to eat chocolate and other sweets when faced with romantic adversity.

The pathetic image of a grown-up woman, wearing pyjamas, sharing chocolate and tears with a friend has become unbearably pervasive on TV and cinema.

Don’t take me wrong, I think it’s great to state loud and clear that women have the right to eat whatever we want, no matter how fattening this may be.   I do have a problem though with the fact this is often used to depict women in crisis, unable to cope with life’s difficulties without breaking down in a childish manner.
That being said, I like to eat chocolate and I find quite a few differences between the chocolate you can find in Australian and the one you can find in Spain.

Spanish chocolate tends to have a higher concentration of cocoa and tablets tend to be thicker. The three variations usually are, dark, milk and white chocolate. If filled with anything it tends to be almonds. That’s as adventurous as I can get with chocolate. No caramel, no Wine Gums.

I remember fondly the very dark and hard chocolate tablets an old auntie from Barcelona would bring with her when she visited my family.

As a child, often, a sandwich made of Spanish bread (similar style to baguette) and chocolate would make a merienda, the snack I would have after school. The chocolate sandwich could easily be taken outside and eaten while playing with friends on the street until dinner time.

Drinking chocolate in Spain is like no other I’ve tried anywhere else in the world. It’s as thick as custard and most times people dip churros or bread in it. After adding the chocolate powder to the hot milk and stirring it with a wooden spoon till it boils, you can pour the dark chocolate sauce in your cup.  In cold winter afternoons, breaking through the thin layer that forms on the top of the cup and tasting the rich hot bitterness is bliss.

Chocolate con churros (drinking chocolate and churros) is a snack often present at family gatherings and local festivities. It’s also great comfort food after a long night out, especially on 1st January, after you’ve been celebrating the New Year all night long and head home at dawn, hoping that one of the cafes walk past may be open.

The closest I've found to Spanish tablet chocolate in Australia is the 70% cocoa chocolate sold at ALDI. I thoroughly recommend it.