Chocolate Welcomes Us to Spain
Chocolate, Jews and Spain share a long history. Spanish royalty enjoyed the Aztec drink Spanish explorers discovered in the early 1500s. It became so popular in Spain of the 16th and 17th centuries that chocolate houses, like cafés, developed everywhere. Similar houses still exist today in most of Spain’s major cities.
Spaniards guarded their production of chocolate secrets for decades, controlling cocoa production and trade in the Americas, as well as cocoa exports to Europe. Indeed, Spain’s conquest of the New World brought chocolate to Europe, then returned it to America transformed into candy.
Because the discovery of chocolate and the Spanish Inquisition along with the expulsion of Jews from Spain coincided, the Jewish connection to chocolate in this period was primarily through Conversos. As we traveled through the Jewish historic sites of Spain, we investigated any further connections of Jews with chocolate in Madrid, Astorga, Valencia and Barcelona.
We learned that in Spain there’s a route for just about everything—a silver route, the Camino del Santiago de Compestela, the El Cid Road but surprisingly not yet a chocolate route. So this report attempts to compensate for that “deficiency.” This is the chocolate route we created in Spain and Southwest France in June and July, 2007. Rabbi Prinz & Rabbi Hurvitz Tour Spain in Search of Jews and Chocolate.
Los Siete Cielos or Seven Heaven Challah Recipe
Los Siete Cielos or Seven Heaven Bread Adapted from Rabbi Robert Sternberg’s The Sephardic Kitchen: The Healthful Food and Rich Culture of the Mediterranean Jews Yield: one large bread Allow time for the shaping of the various elements of this challah and enjoy the anise flavored liqueur in the dough. INGREDIENTS: 1 teaspoon plus 1Read more ›
Cheese Babka Recipe
CHEESE BABKA RECIPE Adapted from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes Yield: One large cake DOUGH 1 tablespoon active dry yeast Pinch sugar ¼ cup warm water (105º to 115º) ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted ¼ cup sugar 1 ½ teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ teaspoon almond extract ¾Read more ›
A Shikker Challah
When I saw this recipe calling for brandy in challah, I had to try it. Liquor seemed such an unlikely ingredient for a challah. Titled “Chaleh I,” it seemed to have been a standard Shabbat bread in the collection of over 1600 recipes previously published in the Forward and gathered by Regina Frishwasser (“editor recipeRead more ›
What? No Babka at Catskills Hotels? *
The borscht belt must have been a babka belt. When thinking of chocolate babka, the Catskills came to my mind given the immense quantities of meichelach treats overflowing the tables there in the 1940’s-60’s. Babka must have been ingrained in the Jewish palate then, as it is now, I figured. Surprisingly, my search through several historiesRead more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- A Chocolate Cake for October's Tricks: Devil's Food
- Announcing Second Edition: On the Chocolate Trail
- Book Optioned: Museum Exhibit
- Celebrating Ice Cream Month with Chocolate
- Choco-Travel Tips
- Chocolate Exhibit Hits the New York Times
- Chocolate Trail Broadens: "Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate" Travels
- How About Some Mindful Chocolate Tasting?
- Is that coffee or chocolate?
- Jews on the Chocolate Trail
- Launching The Chocolate Babka Project
- Lunch & Learn: Central Synagogue
- Lunch and Learn: Tasting the Best Chocolate
- Mothers and Survival by Chocolate
- On the Chocolate Trail in Belize’s Jungle
- Talking Chocolate in February
- Warm Up: 3 Historical Drinking Chocolate Recipes