Hot Stuff

If you’re a chocolate fiend, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the current fashion for combining chocolate with hot chile flavors. My sense is that the trend was kicked off in earnest by a jalepeño chocolate cake recipe in Pierre Hermé’s chocolate book from a few years back (in much the same way everybody is on fire for salty-sweet combinations right now as a result of his salty chocolate sablés…the man truly is a rock star). But where was I? Oh yes, chocolate and chile peppers. The way most purveyors of chile-laced chocolates present themselves, it’s as if they’re resuscitating a tradition that hasn’t been seen since the conquistadores. In fact Europeans almost always laced their chocolate drinks with other new world ingredients like vanilla and chiles, in the same way that we Westerners put wasabi on our sushi. It’s more authentic that way. This was especially true of the Spanish, though the French and the English also took their chocolate in “the West Indian way” up until at least 1800.

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