Some days, nothing will help but warm cocoa.
Note to self: find a source for almond extract.
Therein lies a story.
Years and years and years ago, before the man was officially the man, and was still simply the man, we found ourselves doing a road trip in Colorado and corners of Utah. One evening we found ourselves in south-central colorado somewhere, in a tiny little hotel in a tiny little town.
The hotel was, however, exceptional. Beautiful, small and had - get this - feather mattresses. The one and only time I have ever slept on a feather mattress and it was bliss. Nothing short of it.
After our nap, simply cause we had the bed and had to spend some time in it.....doesn't happen often that opportunity, and before going to bed for the evening, we needed some food. The hotel didn't do food, or we had a craving or I know not what. Either way we ended up in a fantastic little Mexican place for dinner a good half hour or more down the road. This was rural country, we were driving on some very dark roads. The food was very very good, but the hot chocolate I had at the end of the meal was truly exceptional. So astonishing I had to ask about it.
Now, it was more in the spirit of Spanish hot chocolate, or at least Catalan, but I am assuming all of Spain here, which is thick. Not quite pudding thick, but we're working up to it. Not bitter, but very very chocolate-y (the gross stuff has corn starch in it, the good stuff, lots of melted chocolate) this also had a divine aroma and subtle difference in taste. We went round and round it but my sense of smell is somehow not hooked up with the langauge centers in my brain. I smell something, it arouses powerful memories and associations, primarily emotional, but also more concrete sometimes, but the name of the scent. No HOPE!
So we asked.
Almond extract. OMG good.
Now I strongly suspect, given both the flavour and where we were eating, that they didn't just open up a bottle from the supermarket, but instead had some longstanding Mexican traditional manner of extracting beautiful complex almond flavour and imparting it where they wished.
Still, supermarket almond extract is pretty amazing too.
I do know a woman here who is a pastisier - a gourmet cake maker. She may know where I can score some of the good stuff.
Now, back to my cocoa.