Hi all. This is Jacqui — a lovely young woman I became acquainted with at The Herb Shoppe in Brooklyn — holding a mug of her delicious cocoa chai. I have the story and the recipe, but first, let’s sip something delicious and back track a bit:
Brooklyn is huge but it was just a small town when founded by Dutch settlers who dubbed their new home “Breuckelen” in a nostalgic nod to a town in the Netherlands. No offense to the Dutch, but “Brooklyn” has a nicer ring to it than Breuckelen. (Not to mention, it is infinitely easier to spell.)
I love living in Breuckelen. I mean Brooklyn! We have everything from Victorian townhouses so grand they make you gawk with admiration to industrial landscapes so picturesque they leave you speechless; we have wealth and squalor and everything in between; we have hipsters and a great many diverse ethnic enclaves.
Atlantic Avenue, a major street that begins at the Brooklyn waterfront and stretches a great length East is a good example of this diversity. On the waterfront end there is a mosque and a bunch of middle eastern shops and let’s not forget good ol’ Trader Joe’s, and then, there is a stretch lined with a cluster of hip, trendy stores and restaurants. Yet a further stretch will take you where there is nothing but you and the road and a somewhat desolate urban industrial landscape. I have not stretched any further than that! But venture further and you will hit Queens. So I’m told.
One of my favorite haunts on Atlantic Avenue – ensconced in that cluster of pretty stores I told you about — is a charming and delightful establishment called The Herb Shoppe. They offer an amazing array of all manners of familiar and exotic herbs and spices and botanicals and loose teas, all invitingly and temptingly displayed in rows of glass jars and bottles. It is one of my happy places! What I like about the store is that you are helped but you are not hovered over. The vibe is friendly, not fake and fawning, and if you ask a question, you’ll get an informed and enthused answer. I also like that you can purchase in bulk or in as small a quantity as you wish, so that you can experiment with herbs and spices without having to spend a fortune.
I first wandered into The Herb Shoppe over a year ago while on a wild-goose-quest for edible dried rose petals. Which: they carried! Jacqui, the lovely young woman profiled here, was behind the counter. We struck up a conversation during which I may have brought up Fig & Quince (ahem) and the whole bit about Persian food blogging. Since then, I have gone in now and again looking for everything from sage to turmeric to what not. At some point Jacqui mentioned some of her recipes and they all sounded enchanting! I begged her to share one. And she indulged me and did!
And this, my friends, is how Jacqui and I ended up meeting on a freezing cold January day in Brooklyn to bring to you a yummy & delicious- smelling raw cocoa concoction. In an attempt to Persianize the whole affair, Jacqui is enjoying the cacao drink while sipping it from an old-fashioned-style Persian tea cup!
Now just check out the ingredients: cacao, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, honey, vanilla, and milk. Talk about an ingredient list that sings!
Thank you Jacqui for sharing your lovely recipe! It was fun! And you guys: the recipe is below. Click!
- 1-2 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- A pinch (about 1/4 tsp )
- cardamom powder
- cinnamon powder
- ginger powder
- clove powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Honey to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 cups almond milk (can substitute soy milk or regular milk)
Add milk in a small saucepan and heat on low or med until hot. Add all ingredients and mix well. Remove from heat and enjoy!
This recipe is really based on taste and what you like. Adjust quantities to your preference.
Serve hot, hot, hot! Enjoy!
Thank you for the recipe…I am making it now! Love Chai drinks. 😀
did you like it? xo -a
Yes I did? I am such a lover of Chai! I usually make mine with water and then add cream. This was a nice recipe. 😀
happy to hear it. Noosh ‘eh jan!!! 🙂
Awww, thank you 😉
It’s so cold today where I live, definitely going to make this! Thank you for posting! =)
We had a lot of pretty snow today but it wasn’t that cold. Perfect weather for this kind of drink. Hope it hit the spot!
What a lovely acquaintance you made! And the hot cocoa looks divine!
You have to come visit Brooklyn! You’ll like it!
What a beautiful little shop you have found there, with a shop keeper friendly enough to share her lovely recipes! Love this, Azita, and will try it for sure!
Please do! It’s a delicious drink. And I agree the little shop is the cutest and has such a good vibe.
What a lovely cosy pretty spice shop, What a tasty chai almond milk cacao drink, Yum Yum yummmm. 😉
Perfect to get toasty on a cold winter day, no? Noosheh jan Sophie joon!
Oh it sounds wonderful and to think I have never been to that lovely shop and I live so close, that has to change. Making that yummy drink today!!
Oh, yeah, you have to go Suzanne! They have a lot of goodies and you can just get little portions of it.
What a great recipe! 🙂
I agree. I was enticed by it too and am very glad Jacqui agreed to share it.
Hah, so interesting to see your spice/herb shop. Mine, that I’m going to tomorrow, is a very different affair. Halal butcher in the back, aisles packed with produce I’ve never seen. Except for the spices as most of those I’ve tried. Not the dried lime, yet! Haven’t forgotten about your recipe. I’m just not eating meat right now.
Ha ha, I’m trying to picture the scene you paint. It definitely seems different but quite interesting in its own way. I know you’ll like dired lime once you try it. Best start is to just drop one (after puncturing it ever so slightly with a fork) into a soup. See if you like the tart taste it adds. The lime itself, once it’s been simmering in the soup, softens and you can eat it all, should you so desire.
Always great to hear from you Johnny!
That sounds so yummy! I bought a lovely tin of chai (ready to heat up with milk) just recently from our Farmer’s Market, but now that you’ve shared a recipe for it, I’ll make my own up instead! Thanks Azita and Jacqui! 🙂
Noosh ‘eh jan Margot jan! xo a
Lovely post, Azita, that’s actually funny that your friend sips her magic drink from a Persian tea cup, I know those so well, just perfect for a snowy winter day. Since it was a little chilly here in CA, I had some Ash-Reshte with Kashk on top, so yummy.
My mom thought the same thing but I have to confess that I took the Persian tea cup as a prop! In an effort to Persianize the post , ha ha! And mmmm, mmmm, ash reshte with kashk sounds perfect for cool CA. Wish you’d share pix!
nod, concur, agree and confirm! 😉
Yum that’s great. Thanks for this recipe. I always get this chai powder from Trader Joes but now I know how to make it myself! Lovely! I love Atlantic Ave btw.
Do you live nearby Amanda? We should rendez-vous one day. One fine late spring or summer day!
I agree! Yes, I’m in the UES, but I’m in Cobble Hill all the time, as there are tennis courts there and I’m kind of obsessed. We will have to plan a meetup when the weather gets nice for sure!
Perfect! Adding it to the list of things I’m looking forward to in the near future! 🙂
[…] a Chai fanatic! I’ve tasted it made many ways. It was a delight to try this recipe from https://figandquince.com/2014/02/03/cacao-herbshoppe-brooklyn-cardamom-yummy-drink/ (Chai; brought to you by, Fig & Quince!) […]
Looks like an adorable shop! I love that stretch of Atlantic. I’ll have to stop by next time I feel like hopping over the bridge to Brooklyn!
Next time you hop over the bridge, give a holler. Maybe we can grab coffee. Late spring!
“With the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and the East River subway tunnel in 1910 the more salubrious outer boroughs became accessible, and those [“Syrians”] who were able moved their families away from Manhattan […] By 1935, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue was described as ‘the new Washington Street'”
From article “Little Syria, NY”
Ross I can always count on your for intriguing references and referrals and reading materials! Thank you, this was very very interesting!
Perfect for this wintry day!
this year winter means business!
This looks delicious and perfect for how cold it is in CO right now. I am definitely going to try this and I think I have most of the ingredients! 🙂
It’s such a straight up and yet exotically appealing recipe. Perfect for our bitter winter. Nooshe joon in advance if you make it!
Very nice coverage of the store and the neighborhood, Azita: very PJ like 🙂
And of course many thanks to you and Jacqui for sharing the recipe!
So delighted to see you around here Stefano! 🙂
By PJ do you mean Woodhouse?
And I AM staying warm with the help of burning a ot of nervous energy and anticipation and of course a high ball!
Ooops, no – I meant photojournalist, or PJ in jargon 😉
I was thinking either Woodhouse or pajamas … my mind didn’t even go near photojournalism. But: thank you kindly! 🙂
Looks delicious- you really can’t beat a warming cup of tea- especially this one, the flavours sound amazing! 🙂
nodding head in happy agreement!
Love the photos and the display of spices. The drink sounds delicious!
Thank you Liz!
Cacao and cardamom!? Sounds like heaven in a cup. Cacao gives me (and probably many other women out there) the happiest buzz, I must try this! Also, I can’t help but think of the show ‘Portlandia’ every time I see the word cacao now. Look it up if you are curious about what I mean, and apologies ahead of time for my terrible sense of humour 🙂
That was the funniest thing! Still laughing! Cacao, cacao! 🙂
Azita joon, your feelings for Breuckelen(haha) is very close to my feelings for Berekly(how most Persians pronounce it) Berkeley, & we also have a very complete nice herb shop here which they have everything from A-Z organic. I just thought it was interesting. Anyways, the choc. potion sounds delicious & definitely so perfect for right now that we FINALLY have a little rain. I’ll be making it, enjoying it & thinking of you in Brooklyn.
Thank you & good weekend.
This sounds like such a comforting beverage. Perfect for this freezing cold weather.
The Herb Shoppe also looks like a really neat place to visit. Bookmarking for my next trip to NYC!
This sounds like a lovely, winter pick-me-up. Many thanks for sharing the recipe. 🙂
I just bumped into this post. How did I miss it? Nonetheless, a lovely feature. I appreciate posts like this. It is a mini travelogue of paces & notable spots.
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