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Where are the savoury chocolate/cocoa dishes?


I've read studies that say that "chocolate" is the world's favourite flavour. That's not too surprising. Coming from central America after the Spanish conquest, the candy at least quickly was adopted all over Europe and to a lesser degree elsewhere. So did many other new world ingredients, such as corn, beans, squash, chiles, potatoes, vanilla, tomatoes, peanuts and many others. And we've seen many of these become common, and even essential ingredients in many overseas cuisines. (I often wonder what Italian meals were like before pasta came from China and tomatoes from the americas!)

But oddly, the tastiest and most complex of the ingredients never got exported in any significant way for savoury cooking. You can find excellent cocao based mole sauces in Mexican and southwest cuisine, but this is to be expected, as the ingredients come from there. Those dishes are centuries old. And if they didn't exist one might conclude that chocolate only works as a sweet. But it doesn't. So why did the talented chefs of Europe, India, China, Japan and other places never develop a popular dish with this ingredient, when they did so much with the other new ingredients? I say popular because there certainly are dishes, but they are by and large obscure. Just about every culture has a range of well known potato and tomato dishes, for example.

I'll presume it's different. But modern fusion chefs, with fancy tools, knowledge of chemistry and the world's ingredients should be able to do it. Not just come up with dishes, but come up with something both tasty and simple enough to spread as a popular choice. Though for now we won't feel too bad having to limit ourselves to French hot chocolate and Belgian truffles.


Mole chicken and other things with mole (moe-LAY) sauce do exist. The problem is that it is one of those things that can never be mediocre - it's only either fantastic or awful.

But I talked about cacao based mole such as mole poblano in the note. That was created at the origin of chocolate. What I am curious about is why, when chocolate was introduced to the rest of the world, with all its clever chefs and new potential ingredient combinations, the rest of the world never made a hit outside of the confection realm.

Great observation. Never thought about it this way. Will have to do some exploring on this history.

Besides flavor, I have been following the health benefits from raw cacoa and found some cocoa straight from Ecuador that is still in the skin... not roasted.
(I removed a tinyurl. I don't allow those, they hide where a link goes.)

A bit bitter but when you bite into a cocao "bean" it is a rush of pure potency. :) The chocolate nibs and chocolate covered golden berries are also wonderful.


Tomatoes and potatoes can be grown almost anywhere, making them "native" vegetables once they're discovered. A vegetable needs to be available in quantity at low prices for cooks to be experimenting with them and for recipes to enter the public domain. This explains why there are more cocoa recipes in countries where cocoa is grown and less where it must be imported. Candy sells for a higher profit than other food, making production of candies from expensive ingredients economically viable, which leads to more experimentation with candy recipes. There are far more peanut and banana recipes in areas where those are grown than in Europe, for example, so it's not just cocoa.

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