Today may just seem like an ordinary Wednesday in the States, but in other parts of the world it is a day to celebrate.
Today is the 12th day after Christmas, when, supposedly, the Three Magi gave cuddly ol’ baby Jesus a visit.
This holiday is known to Christians in Ireland as “Little Christmas” or “Women’s Christmas” because the men have to take on all the household duties for the day.
In Italy, the day is known as “La Festa dell’Epifania” (the Feast of the Epiphany), which follows the coming of La Befana, an wily old lady who gives out gifts to little children.
And in Mexico, celebrators know today as “El Dia de Reyes” (Day of the Kings). On El Dia de Reyes, children receive presents and while everyone drinks some hot chocolate and takes a slice of the “Rosca de Reyes,” a sweet bread with a figurine of a baby baked inside. Whoever finds this figurine in the Rosca, it is said (hopefully without breaking a tooth), must host a big party on February 2 (Día de la Candelaria, or Candlemas) where they eat lots of tamales and drink a hot cocktail called ponche (stay tuned for my tea-infused version!).
With the latter celebration in mind, today is the perfect day to unveil my delicious recipe, perfect for El Dia de Reyes: Chai Hot Chocolate – a great substitute for revelers with a more sophisticated palate. Here goes:
Chai Hot Chocolate
6 cups milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (preferably Mexican chocolate)
pinch of salt (yep, salt.)
2 tablespoons Kama Chai Sutra
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (not imitation!)
Stick cinnamon (optional, for garnish)
In a large saucepan, combine milk, sugar, chocolate, and salt. Heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the milk is very hot. (Do not let the milk come to a boil.) Add tea leaves, stir and allow to steep for 7 minutes. Strain.
Beat 2 eggs in a mixing bowl. Stir in one cup of the hot tea-chocolate mixture into the eggs, then return this mixture to the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more over low heat, still stirring.
Remove from heat, then add vanilla. Beat until it is very frothy. Pour into teacups, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and serve.