Cocoa heaven

She’s a hard road finding the perfect cocoa, but I think I’ve got as near as possible.

Thanks to the continuing generosity of ‘Henry’, my private student turned good friend, I’ve laid my chops on some dark-brown gold.

Henry grew up in the countryside, and his family farm produces real food, in its natural state. He tells me, during our regular morning coffee sessions, that this stuff is produced by first grinding the cocoa beans, and then achieving a solid state using centripetal force ( spinning it very fast ).

I got my first taste yesterday, and I find it difficult to avoid raving about it. It has that beautiful bitter taste of real cocoa, but it is also sweeter than any natural cocoa I’ve tasted.

At first I made hot drinks from small chunks. Then I decided to cut out the middle man, and just melt the stuff in my mouth.

The result is best described below.


It’s like eating chocolate, without the sugar – so good, it should be illegal.


I originally met Henry through sheer dumb luck. I posted a job-seeking ad ona Facebook forum, back when I first arrived in Nha Trang.

Henry replied. We started to meet for study at his favourite cafes, and it slowly became obvious that not only is among the finest of fellows, he’s a top-drawer foodie. Even more, he’s curious and very bright, which means he’s very easy to teach.

Moral of the story – when dumb luck comes your way, don’t question the whys and wherefores, just grab it with both hands.

Lemons and Lemonade

As lemons are to lemonade, so is liver to pate.

Such is my discovery after collecting the organs from a graveyard of chickens.

After a dead-end search for pate, I heeded a suggestion from a Facebook post, and took myself off to the local market.

After locating the ‘butcher’ among a football field full of dead flesh, we ‘spoke’ in gestures.

Pointing to the quarry,I did a quick calculation, rifled around, and waved a 20k VND note ( ~ NZD 1.35 ) at her,

When she handed back a small knapsack full of the stuff, I realised that haggling over quantity wouldn’t work.


So after cooking up a small batch, I froze the rest.

Yesterday I attempted pate. Olive oil and butter,heat slowly. Throw in some raw ginger.Add some finely chopped mustard greens. A bit of soy sauce, and cook slowly.

Cool, then chill or freeze.

The result? Beautiful! But a little more like mince than pate.

Good for 4 or 5 meals, and that’s only the quarter of it. Enough vitamin B12 for Africa.

Obviously further refinement is needed, but it’s a start.