Salt in my chocolate

mexican cacao nibs, almonds and cinnamon sticks ground up with sugar for our delight 
I knew this morning that today would be a day of tears.  The tide of emotion has been rising for some time, the dam wall I have built hampering the natural ebb and flow of joy and sorrow, until I am overwhelmed by a flash flood.  My time in Africa is coming to an end and I have been too long away from home, yet the impending departure is heartwrenching, so much will be left behind forever.  And so I weep.
The beauty of the morning stabs at my heart, the unfettered joy of leaping whales catches my breath from my throat, and an unexpected gift arriving in the post, at last brings the tears gushing through.
The smell assaults me as I unwrap the parcel, and the thought that has gone into the packing sends my mind striding through early morning misty London streets, down to the docksides to  welcome long awaited clipper ships returning from the spice islands.  Cacao & cinnamon rise and swirl headily in the deli as two enourmous bars of Mexican drinking chocolate are revealed. 
I can barely see through the floods to read the beautiful letter accompanying this generous gift, but the picture it paints of slightly lugubrious burros laden with this mexican gold makes me smile in spite of myself.  And then I cry some more.
There is nothing for it but to crumble some of this bounty into a few  of my grandmother’s tiny old coffee cups and set the cappuccino machine to frothing a fresh cold jug of milk.  I pour minute amounts of hot, thickened white over great chunks of chocolatey dark, and true to the letter’s description, watch as they melt glacier like into an oil slick puddle.  I top up the tiny demitasses with more foam and froth and we, the lucky, early few breathe in, then sip in silent reverence.  Aaah! Now this is chocolate! 
Intense, emotional, the moment is redolent with family memories, joy and pain, friends past and friends new-found.
Yes, today is clearly my day for tears, and what better to weep over than food and friends. 
rich, creamy, spicy & comforting

rich, creamy, spicy & comforting


15 Responses to “Salt in my chocolate”

  1. on 28 Aug 2009 at 10:48 am Kit

    Ohh, I hope the chocolate gave you comfort as the tears flowed.

    I’m sorry you’re going too, and that we haven’t made it over there again to see you.

    Gorgeous post of food and emotion swirling together.

  2. on 29 Aug 2009 at 10:33 am Rit

    Parting is such sweet sorrow. How true these words still are .Your post brought a tear to my eyes also, so eloquent. The git o chocolate, so comfortn.

  3. on 29 Aug 2009 at 4:39 pm Jeni

    Your writing stirs me. I am sorry for your having to leave your family and homeland. Bittersweet indeed…pun intended. Lovely post Inge, and my heart is with you.

  4. on 30 Aug 2009 at 6:10 am Bellini Valli

    Good luck to you Inge and keep smiling through the tears. There is rejoicing on your return on the other end.

  5. on 07 Sep 2009 at 1:43 pm Andrea

    Mexican chocolate is good for all sorts of things, partings included. Safe journeys.

  6. on 12 Sep 2009 at 8:21 pm Courtney aka glamah

    It must be unbearable to leave. Chocolate, especially the good Mexican kind can ease things. Im sure many will be happy to see you back in the UK.

  7. on 16 Sep 2009 at 5:32 am Anairam

    This is very sad news indeed! But happy news I’m sure for those waiting for you in the UK. When I saw your post heading I popped on over, as I LOVE chocolate and have just recently discovered Lindt Excellence – A Touch of Sea Salt. Delicious! Who would have guessed that chocolate and salt go together? I will now forever associate that with you. PS Your gift of a vanilla pod sits happily in my sugar jar, reminding me of lovely Kassia and Figg.

  8. on 17 Sep 2009 at 5:36 am african vanielje

    Ladies, thank you all. Sorrow shared is indeed sorrow halved, or quartered , or whatever, thanks for your support and understanding, and I’m looking forward to blogging a lot more frequently. xx

  9. on 21 Sep 2009 at 11:27 am Marla

    What a touching post and what better way to indulge the emotions than to let them wash over you and soothe it all with such a luscious divine drink, chocolate and salty tears. I love sharing your snippets of your journey.

  10. on 25 Oct 2009 at 5:34 pm TheWoman

    Your writing is poor poetry, and to say you’ve got me drooling over that mug of chocolate would be a severe understatement. So glad I discovered your blog!

  11. on 19 Nov 2009 at 9:01 am Shirley Isaacs

    I found some of your lovely photos on Google and have left you a comment on Flikr. I also found your website which was very interesting too, (although you dont seem to have posted for a while).
    Kindest regards,
    Shirley I.

  12. on 13 Jan 2010 at 2:59 am Juno

    Lovely writing, and stunning photographs. Thank you.

  13. on 07 May 2010 at 5:58 am Sophie

    What a moving & lovely post!!

    What a superb & divine tasty looking drink!! I so love it!

  14. on 13 Apr 2011 at 7:26 am kadirecipes

    Oh so sorry….
    This a lovely post.
    Like the recipe

  15. on 29 Feb 2012 at 10:11 am Lania Edwards

    lovely post! very yummy.
    African inspired cooking, this African lady also has some lovely recipes.

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