My shopping function is disabled by Costco. Occasionally I can manage the maze of Honest Ed’s. And I have to be in some kind of special mood to go to the other country of IKEA. I was recently visited by such a mood (happy to say) and the trek proved fruitful if only for the discovery of the coolest tool ever: a $3.99 battery-operated frother. Not having an espresso machine, I was wistfully hoping to approximate the lattés and cappuccinos that cost as much as this one-time purchase.
I’ve reverted (for the sake of taste) to making coffee by the drip method, pouring the water by hand in little increments, using a ceramic filter holder and an insulated carafe. A little bit of tedium in exchange for a good result. Having made a strong batch with some ground espresso, I then heated some milk in a small pot and put the tool to it. The effect was stunning. Familiar with commercial machines from past restaurant experience, I know how uneven the success can be when it comes to making foam. But this is the little gadget that could. I’ve used it many times in the last week and it’s never let me down. If I’m feeling lazy, I don’t even bother to heat the milk. I just put it in cold with the coffee and froth the whole thing at once. Delicious. Then I tried frothing just coffee. Wow. So interesting. I tasted so much more. Hey! Floral notes! Why that is, I don’t know. But I was also interested in using the tool for hot and cold chocolate drinks. A long-time fan of Toronto’s Chocosol*, I pulled up their how-to video of making hot and iced chocolate.
And what do you know. Matthieu says that AIR is the ‘secret ingredient’. “Numerous chemicals react to (its) presence, creating subtle flavors that please the palate and invigorate the body”. So it’s the air that works a magic, beyond texture, on the milk, on the chocolate, and it seems, even on coffee. Air was traditionally incorporated into the drink by the Mayans and Aztecs, using a wooden tool called a ‘molinillo’. Chocosol uses a blender to achieve a similar effect. I always figure that the less dishes to wash, the better. So I scrapped the blender idea and tried the frother on Chocosol’s drinking chocolate, simply heating it in a pot with hot water, and then chilling it with ice. Delicioso y Perfecto!
*You can get Chocosol’s products at a number of farmers’ markets in Toronto.