mate chocolate tea with Jamaican bun and cheese

I had read about drinking chocolate tea to satisfy food cravings–especially the late-night kind! To me, anything chocolate is good. I noticed that a new gourmet spice and tea shop opened on Broadway called Spices and Tease (between 97th  and 98th Streets) so I wandered in to check it out. Maxim, the proprietor, introduced me to mate chocolate tea. It was his last stash for the next two weeks but he sold it to me. He promised me that it would get darker the longer it steeped but it would not get bitter. He’s right. It has the most wonderful guilt-free chocolate smell and a slight bitter taste reminiscent of dark chocolate. A mate (pronounced ma-teh) is a South American herbal tea made from the leaves of the yerba mate. And I discovered it’s a wonderful accompaniment to bun and cheese, an Easter tradition in Jamaica.

Speaking of which, my cousin Anne Marie contributed this recipe for a stout bun. She writes: “SweetPea LOVES this bun recipe which I got from my cousin Debbie, so I have not made it in several years because he tends to eat all but the one or two slices I manage to save for myself!!!  Sweetie says that if I don’t make it, he won’t be tempted but you know, I think I’ll surprise him with it next month for his 65th!!!!!!!!! Birthday.” So, as an added bonus, here is Anne Marie’s recipe for

Jamaican Spice Bun

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar;
2 teaspoons melted butter;
2 teaspoons golden syrup or honey;
2 teaspoons mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg & mace in equal parts.  I made up a small jar to save myself the trouble for future buns);
1 cup of stout (I love Guinness);
3 cups all purpose flour;
3 tsp baking powder;
1 cup mixed glacé fruits (I add extra glacé cherries);
1 large egg (or 2 medium eggs)

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F
2.  In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar, butter, syrup/honey & spices in the stout on low heat
3.  Mix flour, baking powder and fruit
4.  Beat eggs & mix all ingredients together
5.  Put in greased and parchment lined (9×5 inch) loaf tin
6.  Bake approximately 1 hour

This recipe makes one loaf of spice bun. Sam, I hope Anne Marie makes this for your birthday next month– and for any other occasion.

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