Once Upon A Mango

Once Upon A Mango Always thank Mrs. Mango Seed You enjoyed it  She can tell Children dance round big mango tree  Sound of laughter  Clear and free Eat ripe mango  One to ten  School is out Barefoot then Climb and pick or use a stick Search the ground Look round and round Ripe ripe Julie sweet and juicy June July Big Bombay full Mango blossom caressed by breeze Perfect food for worker bees Share a mango Make a friend  Give a smile Mango zen Sweetest candy on a tree Share God’s gift With feet and wings Crawly things He is wise He knew so well Ripe mango sweeter Than a dinner bell

Welcome to Portland, The Birthplace of Jamaican Jerk Pork

“Jamaican cooks have imagination and flair. That’s why we adore pigs and never think of them as bacon. It’s a reggae celebration, the smell of pimento, fiery scotch bonnet and jerk seasoning filling the air. A street party for swine in heaven.” Jomo Morris It’s raining again, and as the raindrops pepper the ground then burst like ripe fruit, my heart sinks. This isn’t the way to start a vacation; in fact, choosing to visit Jamaica in May  –  the official start of rainy season – is a sure way never to see the sun, walk on the sand, or swim in the sea.  There’s nothing to do but wait and watch as lightning flickers along the distant blue mountain tops. The rain picks up in pace and tempo, and my despair deepens.   Water gushes from the drains along the side of the house and a small river forms in the yard. The eddying current sweeps away twigs, leaves, mud, and with it, my hope of visiting Portland. The parish of Portland (and by extension the small community of Boston) is recognized as the birthplace of Jamaican jerk pork. This visit should be one of the highlights of my trip, but I’m hard-pressed not to let this morning squall dampen my spirits. The rumble of thunder is ominous but distant. The ground is wet; the grass and the trees all glisten as if brand-new.  It’s as if the rain has made all the natural colors of the land brighter and […]

Artisanal Chocolate from Bean to Bar

“Transforming the simple cocoa bean into chocolate is the most powerful form of alchemy.” Jomo Morris   The aroma is a sign: important things are happening to these beans. Fresh cocoa beans are fermented in the open to increase their flavor – just like coffee beans. Prolonged exposure increases the risk of bacteria, fungi or mold. When cocoa beans are roasted, several chemical reactions occur. Roasting removes moisture, concentrating and intensifying chocolate flavor. Roasting also sterilizes the bean, and separates it from the outer husk, making cracking and winnowing easier.   The beans then go through a Crankandstein® cocoa mill that breaks the beans into pieces. It’s a hand cranked cocoa mill, with abrasive double rollers. It’s hard work to crack the cocoa beans by hand, but hard work and perspiration adds integrity to the chocolate making process. The broken bits are then “winnowed” Chef uses a common hair dryer to blow away the flaky outer shell and leave the inner kernel or cocoa nib. Imagine seeing hundreds of tiny cocoa snowflakes covering the wall, the sink, swirling up and around as the hair dryer moves back and forth to separate the nibs.   Bring forth the Champion juicer The Champion juicer was originally created to juice fruit and vegetables; but somewhere in its history, someone discovered it could grind cocoa nibs. The Champion juicer grinds cocoa nibs until they liquefy to produce a sludge called “chocolate liquor.”  The Melangeur – Refining and Conching The melangeur is a chocolate mixing machine with a granite basin containing two opposing granite […]