Vanilla and toasted cacao bean pancakes from Papantla

Chef Luis Robledo Richards

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DESCRIPTION

A pancake that presumes two native Mexican ingredients: cacao and vanilla, originating from the communities that began their cultivation.

PAIRING

Chocolate de Agua

FLAVOR RANKING

Salty
sweet
spicy
acid

INGREDIENTS

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Cinnamon
  • Egg
  • Wheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Corn starch
  • Liquid cream
  • Cacao beans
  • Invert sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Powedered milk
  • Mint
  • Cremodan (stabilizer)
  • Glucose syrup

Vainilla

Fruit of the climbing orchid native to Mexico, with large yellow flowers. It is a green pod that is cooked, dried and placed to sweat until it turns brown. In Nahuatl its name is tlilxochitl, black flower. In Pre-Hispanic times it was mixed with cacao in the elaboration of chocolate. The main producing state is Veracruz, particularly Papantla, due to its ideal climate.
Papantla is also home to the "Voladores de Papantla" who perform a dance to "son" with flute and drum. In order to perform this Totonaca ritual dedicated to fertility, the dancers tie their feet with ropes, launch themselves from the top of a post and circle it upside down until they complete a total of 52 circuits, which mark the centuries in Middle America.

Cacao beans

The Nahuatl name cacahuatl is derived from the Mayan word kakaw; both refer to the red, hard, oval shaped fruit that develops in the trunk and branches of the tree and measures up to 30 cm. long and 10 cm. wide. The seeds and fruit of the pulp may be utilized in multiple preparations ranging from chocolate bars to hot chocolate, pozol and other corn based beverages. In Mexico, cultivation was domesticated 4,000 years ago in the states of Tabasco, Chiapas y Oaxaca. 2,000 years ago the Maya were the first to toast and grind it, using it as an ingredient and as currency.
It was used in economic transactions in Middle America until the middle of the XVI century, when the first Currency House in America was established in the center of Mexico City.

The word mezcal is derived from the Nahuatl language: Mexcallí.

Metl = Maguey
Ixcalli = Cocido

Mezcal is obtained by means of a long and complex artisan process of baking, fermentation and distillation of the heart of the maguey cactus.

Each type of mezcal is unique, its flavor determined by the species of maguey, the tradition of the region in which it is produced and the recipe of the master mezcalero in charge.

Agave Karwinskii

Agave Americana

Agave Cupreata

Agave Angustifolia

Agave Potatorum

Agave Salmiana

Agave Marmorata

Agave Duranguensis

1- Care of the ecosystem

To ensure the continuity of the mezcal tradition, it is indispensable to take care of the ecological equilibrium, promote the reproduction of wild agaves, reforest and care for the fauna that pollinate the agaves.

2 - Maguey selection and trimming

Solely ripe agaves are selected - each species has a distinct maturation time ranging from 8 to 40 years. Trimming consists of cutting the long stalks in order to extract the heart of the plant.

3 - Baking the maguey

The agave hearts (also called piñas) are baked for 3 to 8 days underground in volcanic stone ovens in order to extract the sugars.

4 - Grinding of the maguey

The baked maguey is ground to extract the juice and begin the fermentation process of the sugars.

Fermentation

This is the longest stage of the process - the juice is allowed to ferment for 8 to 15 days depending on the climate and tradition of the region.

6 - Distillation

This is carried out in a still- the heat provokes evaporation of the alcohol which, upon condensation, will make up the mezcal. Distillation has three stages, the master mezcalero determines the quantity of mezcal to be used from each stage for the final blend.

1-Observe

Stir the mezcal to observe its transparency, the pearling and its body and consistency.

2-Touch

Rub a drop of mezcal between your thumb and index finger to feel the texture, which may be coarse, oily or dry. Next, place a drop in the palm of your hand and rub it so as to heat and evaporate the alcohol, then hold your hand up to your nose.

3-Smell

Discover the aroma of smoked maguey in your hands, smell the glass in different positions and open your mouth to take in the aroma, feeling the aroma as it intensifies, and try to find memories connected to these aromas in your olfactory memory.

4-Savor

The first kiss

Take a small sip of the mezcal and spread it over your palate, tongue and mouth. Continue smelling the mezcal until your tongue begins to salivate and prepare for a second drink.

The deep kiss

Take a bigger sip of the mezcal and then tip your head back, softly allowing the mezcal to pour little by little down your throat, drinking it very slowly.

The romance

Take a drink of the mezcal and once you have swallowed it take a deep breath, slowly inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose. Feel how your sense of smell and taste connect to explore the full array of aromas and flavors.

5- Order another shot!