Vancouver, BC ~ Terra Nostra™ Organic Reintroduces the Merienda ~ The Merienda is a family, social and after dinner gathering similar to the British high tea. Spain, Latin America and the Philippines celebrate the Merienda, and now the tradition is being revitalized in, of all places, Vancouver, British Columbia, where Karlo Flores, Founder and President of Terra Nostra™ Organic Chocolate, adds his own special twist to this delightful repast. Karlo grew up in a family of chocolatiers from Mexico City who have been creating chocolate for five generations …
In his grandmother’s time the Merienda was enjoyed nearly every day. The next generation, Karlo’s mother and father, moved the family from Mexico City to Canada some twenty years ago, and the Merienda brought the family together every weekend to relax, discuss the week’s events, and enjoy in savory dishes such as tamales and delicious baking paired with hot chocolate. Karlo continues the tradition with his own family. They turn the television off, put the toys and video games away and gather together over cookies and cakes hot out of the oven using recipes collected over time from Karlo’s Grandmother.
One intriguing, traditional Merienda occasion, called Rosca de Reyes, takes place on January 6th, two weeks after Christmas Eve. It celebrates the Three Wise Men with a cake that is a mixture of Christian and Jewish traditions: the cake is called a Rosca de Reyes (similar to challah) – sweetened with dried fruit is made in the shape of a wreath. The wreath is baked with several small Jesus figurines placed inside, the loaf is then cut and served to family members and guests, and whoever receives the figurine or receives a piece of the Rosca with the figurine is exposed, is asked to host a party (a fiesta!) two weeks later, extending the holiday season.
Wonderful recipes, some of them family classics that have been updated (several featuring Karlo’s delicious chocolate), and photographs are included below.
Terra Nostra™ invites you to join them in celebrating history!
1 x 3.5oz Terra Nostra™ Organic Chocolate bar, your choice from: 73% Intense Dark, Dark Truffle or Milk Truffle
24 oz Your Choice of Milk Alternative
Break off sections of your selected flavor Terra Nostra Organic Chocolate bar.
Warm milk to steam temperature without boiling and pour into jug. Add the chocolate pieces and stir with whisk or wooden molinillo until all chocolate is melted. Keep whisking to create a creamy rich froth.
Pour into cups raising the jug while pouring to evenly distribute the froth and liquid mixture.
Sip with care as the temperature may be too hot, but have patience it will taste terrific!
Dunk in any of the Merienda cookies and pastries you just baked.
Royal Terra Nostra Mousse
One 3.5 oz Terra Nostra Dark Truffle Bar or 3.5 oz Terra Nostra 73% Intense Dark Bar
4 organic or free range eggs
In a double boiler melt the chocolate bar. Meanwhile, separate the egg yolks and whites into two bowls. Whisk the egg whites until the consistency of a meringue. Put the bowl that holds the yolks in a larger bowl filled with hot water. Once yolks are warm (about body temperature), add to the chocolate, stirring to mix thoroughly. Add half the egg yolks to the chocolate yolk mixture, and combine with a rubber spatula using a vertical, circular motion: slowly incorporate the egg whites capturing air. Add the other half of the whites.
Divide the mousse into champagne glasses or glass bowls. Refrigerate for at least four hours and serve topped with whipped cream and/or berries or more shaved Terra Nostra chocolate bars!
Almond Truffle Cookies
3.5 oz or 100g 1 Terra Nostra™ Bar flavor of your choice, cut into small chunks (break off sections further cut into 4 pieces)
7 oz or 200g self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 oz or 56g margarine
1 1/2oz or 42g organic raw sugar
2 oz or 56g organic golden syrup or agave nectar or organic glucose
1 cup or 200g organic sliced or slivered raw almonds
Cookie Portions, Making the Base
Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
Using your hands blend in the margarine chunks until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Stir in the sugar and chopped chocolate chunks.
After which, add the syrup mixing all ingredients with wooden spoon, finishing off the pieces.
Baking the Cookie Base
Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C)
2 baking trays 11" x 16" lined with baking parchment paper or greased.
Top cookie sheet with sliced Raw Organic Almonds.
Roll into sheets and with round cookie cutter 1" to 1 1/2" diameter cut cookie pieces with lots of room as the dough will flatten and expand.
Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until the cookie surface appears cracked.
See the Terra Nostra website for more Merienda Recipes.