Simón Coll Xocolaters: From Culinary Collective

The Culinary Collective also imports products by a brand called Simón Coll, a famous chocolatier, founded in 1840 in Catalonia.

Spanish ‘drinking chocolate’ is quite the experience. Whereas Americans associate hot chocolate mostly with children, in Spain, it’s definitely an adult-appreciated beverage. It’s thicker, richer and is made the old fashioned way, from melting a specific type of cooking chocolate down in cream and/or milk, in a pan over low heat.

The drink is far more molten, thick and dreamy than the Swiss Miss you likely remember from childhood. Spanish drinking chocolate is something for an experienced palate, with the nuances of premium cocoa and often artisan spices at the forefront.

The process of Simón Coll chocolate from bean to bar is also more akin to a distilled spirit or a coffee processing than you’d likely realize. Simón Coll begins by purchasing the world’s top quality cocoa beans, which, directly after harvesting, go through a fermentation process triggers what eventually will be the intense aroma and taste, once it’s bar form.

The cocoa beans and pulp are put into wooden boxes, covered with banana leaves and left for the enzymes to react with the sugars.

They are dried in the sun after this step, and once at the Spanish factory, the company analyzes the quality and chooses the best beans for roasting.

These processes have been carefully completed by six family generations, and today, you can even visit the chocolate factory in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Barcelona, to see and experience it at the source.

Until that time, we’ve brought you one of their most exciting bars––the Chocolate a la taza, with Chili and Pepper.

You don’t want to unwrap it and bite into it. You want to snap off a piece and seek out a saucepan in your kitchen. At 70-percent cocoa, it has a very high cocoa content for a deep, rich taste. The spices added include Jamaican pepper, black pepper and cayenne, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or an unforgettable dessert serving.

Choose whole milk or half-and-half (depending on how rich you want it), and start with 1 cup of liquid to 7 oz. of the bar. Warm it slowly so the milk does not burn and with a wooden spoon, gently stir the chocolate until it’s fully melted and incorporated into the liquid. Serve it while warm in mugs or in small cups for sipping.

To really have the true Spanish dessert experience, Weiss recommends sourcing cinnamon-sugar-dusted, traditional Churros.

“Most people in Spain would have this combination after a night of partying, at, say, 4 am on the street,” she laughs. “There’s something super heavenly about dipping a Churro into drinking chocolate.”