By Chef H. Delgado
June 30, 2022
Today I want to show you a new, original and delicious product. A healthy chocolate bar with three ingredients; cocoa, wholemeal panela and honey.
Last week the Ágora Ponferrada team, led by Patricia Garcia and Daniel Garcia, launched one of their latest creations onto the market. I have had the honour of being one of the first people to try this gourmet product.
But before I tell you more about Agora Ponferrada and the Hypatia chocolate, let me tell you about the evolution of chocolate in my country.
The history of cocoa begins 2500 years ago, with the Mayan and Aztec cultures who called it "cacauatl" and cultivated and consumed it mixed with water and spices, such as cloves or chilli, in a drink known as "xocolatl". This drink was used in rituals and was considered a divine drink.
The first reference to cocoa in Spain was in a letter by Hernán Cortés on 30 October 1520. He referred to this product as a fruit with almonds, sold in Mexican lands, and the Aztecs attached such importance that it was even used as currency in some payments.
But it was not until 1534 that cocoa reached Spain, and it was in the town of "Nuévalos" in Zaragoza where chocolate was manufactured for the first time on the European continent. Friar Jerónimo de Aguilar sent the first sack of cocoa beans and the chocolate recipe from Mexico to Don Antonio de Álvaro, abbot of the Monastery of Piedra in Spain. In this congregation, they knew how to use the caloric power of chocolate to overcome their fasts and have the strength to work. However, the way they drank it was a far cry from today, as they prepared it bitter as a medicinal concoction.
After its introduction into Spain, chocolate was transferred to other uses and customs. But this food did not spread as quickly as it is believed to have done in Europe, and while here it was considered a select and highly valued product, in other countries it was not so highly valued. In fact, it took several hundred years before it became famous as a digestive and stimulant remedy in the 16th and 19th centuries. It would eventually evolve into the varieties of the product we know today, driven mainly by the rise of the Spanish industry in the 19th century.
The Spanish chocolate industry is also one of the most creative in the world, marked by innovative and avant-garde products, delicious flavour combinations and eye-catching formats that have brought Spanish chocolates to the forefront of the world confectionery scene.
Agora is a small food shop restaurant located in one of the most beautiful stops on the "Camino de Santiago", Ponferrada (El Bierzo). They have made a place among the best establishments in the region thanks to the high-quality food. A benchmark business that seeks to balance business profit with social and environmental sustainability. Its central values are the exquisite selection of raw materials, using local, organic and fair trade products.
Believe me, breakfast and lunch at Agora is something you won't forget.
Visit their website and find out more info about Agora: https://www.agoraponferrada.es/
Chocolate and gastronomy lover, Patricia Garcia tells us how they put all the love in each of the elaboration phases. Using traditional methods that make each bar a unique product.
Among the many peculiarities of her chocolate is the use of panela as a sweetener. The panela leaves a unique touch on your palate, a sparkling sensation that makes the bar melt in your mouth and changes its texture. The honey integrated like diamonds inside the ounces gives a sweetness that, when combined with the panela, will provide you with an experience that will delight any gourmet palate.
Find out more about Hypatia chocolate by visiting its website here: https://chocolateartesanohypatia.com/
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Agora and Hypatia Artisan Chocolate. These sustainable companies, so committed to the environment and social good, deserve to have all the success in the world.
Many thanks Dani and Patri, for contributing to the chocolate world with this fantastic product.
See you soon!
Love for the product, take care of the technique, elegant execution, and above all, nature and environment respect, are my values as a professional.
It is a pleasure for me to invite you to discover the best dishes and ingredients of Spanish cuisine.
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