Words have always inspired me. But I never imagined that words associated with chocolate could grow so much inspiration. Enter the submarino.
The deeper layers of inspiration uncovered themselves during my first encounter with a submarino which started in Paraty, Brazil. While aimlessly wandering these delightful cobblestone streets and stumbling on my own two feet, we stumbled upon this lovely cafe right next to the pousada where we were staying. At this point during my 6 month exchange in Brazil, I was certain that my ability to decipher the description was on point. I can’t recall my initial preconceived notion of this drink when I saw it on the menu. But I can say that it wasn’t anything like this. The big missing piece was its interactive component, which in my opinion is the most important aspect of this delight. You have an active role in the enjoyment of the drink. The chocolate becomes the submarine that submerges into the cup of steamed milk. You stir and stir and stir until you have a wonderful chocolatey beverage to consume.
Fast forward 2 years and I reunited with the submarino. But this time it was in Argentina. All this time in between I thought the submarino was a Brazilian speciality, but it seems as though travel has once again proven me wrong. I saw this drink listed on almost every cafe and restaurant I went to in Argentina and I ordered it at every chance I could. Through my longing to preserve these feelings that came from this joyful experience, through my constant struggle to tread a balance between my current Canadian life and my travel life, I vowed to bring this lovely drink to my home, wherever my home may be, and share it with many others.
Submarino Recipe (yields 1 serving)
1 cup of milk
1 ounce, or 2 tablespoons, of chocolate of your choice
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until it reaches a gentle simmer. Do not allow it to boil.
- Pour milk into a teacup or mug. Submerge chocolate into the milk. Stir and stir and stir until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
The presentation of the submarino is an essential element that adds to its appeal. I’ve seen some variations: a piece of chocolate on top of the cup or a little bowl of chocolate chips next to the cup. Whichever way you choose to go, make sure the chocolate is outside the cup before you serve it. Don’t deny yourself the true satisfaction of this drink!
The researcher in me was excited to make this drink and try it with different chocolates. Kingston, my current hometown, has this lovely shop called Cooke’s Fine Foods and it sells a healthy balance of international foods and local treats. Chocolate is no exception here.
This picture doesn’t even do justice to the extensive range of chocolates that are available. You will be pleasantly surprised to find a very long shelf dedicated to chocolate. While the choice of chocolate was a difficult one to make, I was finally able to narrow my selection down to three types of chocolate.
Willie’s Cacao (Indonesian Gold Javan Dark Breaking 69)
This rich chocolate imparts a deep colour when mixed with the hot milk. Its slightly bitter taste makes for a less sweet version of a traditional hot chocolate. However, it is sweet enough to satisfy your craving for chocolate. I wouldn’t drink this submarino before bedtime as it may keep you wired.
Green and Black’s Organic ( Organic Milk Chocolate with 37% Cocoa)
“Mmmmm” (long pause) “mmmmm.” It pretty much sums up my reaction. I would have to say that this was my favourite among the three. The chocolate mixed with the hot milk provides a nice balance of sweet chocolately creaminess. The chocolate complemented the creaminess of the milk very well. In a way, this submarino slightly reminded me of an Ovaltine drink but it was much better.
Olivia Chocolat 76% Cocoa
I found this chocolate to be extremely bitter and it didn’t mix very well with the milk. Even in the best efforts to stir constantly, I wasn’t left with a smooth consistency that I hoped for. It was almost a grain like texture. I wanted to like this kind because it is a Canadian company and I try to support local as much as possible. But I would have to say that this was my least favourite among the three. It’s still worth trying other chocolates with different cocoa percentages from this company because it was still enjoyable.
My journey with this delightful drink took the following route: Brazil -> Argentina -> Kingston -> you. Where you allow the journey to continue is up to you. If you’ve tried this recipe, share your experience in the comments below!