I’ll go straight on this. Carob has been a true discovery for me.
You see, back when I lived in Brescia I spotted a carob based drink here and there on the shelves of my local health food store. But other than that, I never cared about it that much. I mean, I knew carob was an awesome cocoa substitute, but if you tell someone you’re going to drink carob, they will likely scowl you – carob were given to swine here.
However, why pairing a carob hot drink with Lisbon?
Straight anwser: I first tasted it when I was on vacation in Portugal. The boyfriend and I were dining at a local tasca (aka a cute little restaurant), and once I noticed the bolo de alfarroba on the menu I had no doubt what was going to be dessert that night. For the non-Portuguese, a bolo de alfarroba is just a carob cake.
The one we had that night was a cross between a brownie and a tenerina cake. Rather flat, liberally dusted with carob powder, and with a texture that was at the same time moist and crumbly, thanks to the chestnut purée.
Apparently carob is very sweet on its own, and its flavor is similar to cocoa. Before going all in and experiment with a whole cake recipe, I decided I’d rather have my carob in a way that would allow me to taste its actual flavor. And here’s the carob hot drink of this post!
This drink is basically a hot cocoa, minus the cocoa, plus spices.
A few months back I purchased a small jar of mixed spices, Chinese spices as the label reported. Cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel and black pepper produced a wonderful, warming smell when I cracked open the jar. I love the scent of those, sweet and rich, with the pleasant punch from the black pepper. It kind of reminded me the special smell of the spices you’d put into gingerbread.
This hot drink would be perfect for the (hopefully!) colder coming weeks. The perfect picture? A cozy sofa, comfy clothes and a blanket, plus a piping hot cup of this drink to ease into nighttime. I never thought I’d say this one day, but I’m actually longing for cold weather!
What about you? Is weather oddly warm where you live, too? And what are your favorite ways to unwind? Tell me in the comments below!
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Now, before I forget once again – here are a few of my Lisbon pictures! Please don’t expect touristy shots. I rarely take pictures of highly touristic places when I visit them. This is mostly because my former architecture photography training and eye for neatness just makes me cringe at the thought of shooting something without caring about keeping lines straight, and with all the crowds around. I just can’t.
So here’s my non-touristic journey though Lisbon! And a very empty (and beautiful) view of the ocean, which I had never seen before. So beautiful.
Every morning we climbed down the steep steps of our charming AirBnb flat in Estrela district, all the way down to the train station or the place we would visit that day. Yes, we always walk our way through the cities we visit, and only take the public transport if there’s no other alternative.
One morning we walked from Santos to Belém following the cycling path that ran along the Tagus river. The plan was visiting the Jerónimos Monastery, but as we were approaching it, we noticed the four-row queue that had already formed outside, and since the weather was horribly hot and sunny, we decided to visit the botanical gardens instead, and then get ourselves a pastel de nata. I mean, what else should one do in Belém?
I told you I love straight lines, didn’t I? Well, the Parque das Nações was the dream place for me. We went there to visit the Oceanário, and oh my I wished I had been there the year before – maybe when I was shooting for my architecture photography exam?
I guess one wouldn’t typically shoot pictures of such places, leaving behind the traditional sightseeing spots, but hey, postcards are one thing, I want to capture what fascinates me – and these things are usually lines, textures, and the light and shadow game. And pretty corners people usually don’t notice when visiting a capital city.
Carob is a well known cocoa substitute, and this recipe is a spiced take on the classic hot cocoa. The perfect treat for the colder months ahead!
- 300 ml almond milk, unsweetened
- 2 tbsp carob powder
- 1-2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp gingerbread spices
- 1 tbsp raw sugar, or more, to taste
To a small pot, add carob powder, sugar and spices. Whisk to combine.
Slowly stream in almond milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Once all the milk is incorporated, heat over medium heat until the mixture bubbles.
Pour in two glasses or mugs and enjoy!