For today’s post, we are traveling to the island of Martinique in the southern Caribbean. Martinique is part of France and as such is heavily influenced by French culture. Yet it also has own history, traditions, language (Creole, although French is the primary language these days), and foods, which it shares largely with fellow French Antillean island Guadeloupe. I happen to have a good friend, Katia, who is from Martinique, and she told me about a unique chocolate drink that Martinican children love.
It is called Chocolat Première Communion because it is generally served at Communions, but also at baptisms, weddings and other gatherings. Martinicans are a religious people, and many cultural celebrations revolve around religious events. Coming from a non-religious family, Katia told me that as a child she was desperate for her own First Communion, if only for the wonderful festivities and gifts. Yet she apparently managed nonetheless to get plenty of this chocolate because it still reminds her of childhood.
The basic idea of this cocoa is that it is lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and lime zest. But one other common addition caught my eye, and that is peanut butter. I thought that was a wonderful idea as way of enriching the flavor of hot cocoa and adding some extra nutrition for children! So I gave it a try. The recipe is traditionally made with sweetened condensed milk and unsweetened cocoa but I will offer a more convenient method for the American kitchen. It is also traditionally served with Pain au beurre, a Martinican bread that is reminiscent of brioche or challah and that is often elaborately braided or woven. You could serve yours with any kind of bread.
First Communion Chocolate
- 1 and 1/3 cups milk
- 2 tbsp hot cocoa mix
- a sprinkle of cinnamon
- a sprinkle of nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Enjoy!
Of course, as an American, I am well aware of the virtues of the chocolate/peanut butter combination, and this one does not disappoint. The peanut butter adds a rich, almost smoky flavor which the spices round out nicely. Definitely one to try! Pain au beurre will have to wait for another post.