Rosemary Summer Fudge
in beautiful Yucatan
during the sunrise
The first time I stepped off the plane in 2010 I was hit with humidity, and the smell of things growing. It was a stark juxtaposition to what I had just departed in snowy, December Iowa and it was love at first sight. In the month I spent exploring the Yucatan, tree after tree amazed me with green leaves and colorful flowers.
me on my first trip to the Yucatan in 2010
My next visit was during the hottest months of the year and I watched trees turn brown but at the same time magically a bright, burnt orange flower opened taking over entire tree tops in my favorite color. My life at that point wasn’t going as planned and that vacation was suppose to be a recovery. I felt burnt like the trees, losing my old leaves but with the promise of a beautiful bloom.
My third trip was during rainy season and it was the trip with no return flight, I had decided to move. I was a blue as the weather unsure of my drastic life choice and day after day it rained and rained. I was deep in the forest and monkey screeches greeted me at daylight. Each morning I woke to sunshine and as it burned away the fog of the early hour, I could see the beautiful, lush green tree tops. It was in this daily morning meditation that I started to see the various shades of green that made up a forest. I got to the point of seeing 6 different greens as I sat each morning, drinking coffee and waking up. I still stand in awe at the edge of a forest absorbing the variety that makes it possible. My depression dissipated like the fog as I learned this lesson of connectedness.
During all of these trips, of course I ate. Fruits, pumpkins, spices each trip brought new flavors and textures. When I finally settled into moving here I was in the heart of coffee and chocolate production regions, and I learned respect for the people and place these come from. I have always respected my food and tried to get to know my farmers, but the community in the Yucatan makes that a little easier. At the market, I may not be talking directly to the farmer but to his daughter or wife who connects me to his product. You can see the changing seasons just as easily in the market as you can in the forest.
In my mind Yucatan is an eternal spring, there is always something new and different growing. Each season is the chance for something new to open up. I’ve tried bright orange fruit as soft as a banana, and black fruit as sweet as ice cream. I’ve had pumpkins small enough to fit in my hand that are green outside and a wonderful light yellow when you cut them. I’ve tried new herbs grown in side patios from seeds saved for generations. The hard working, kind culture of the Yucatan is transposed in their connection to growing and eating. Their flavors diverse and urging you to connect to your own history.
Yucatan gives me a lot, and I bring to it as well. My history is full of rosemary, If you eat in my kitchen you will almost always find it. She is the center of my garden as well, keeping away bugs and mosquitos. I rub my hands through her fragrant leaves almost everyday and calm as I breath in the unique smell. Rosemary is one of the only plants that grows year round here, perfectly adapted for every tropical season.
In reality Yucatan is never spring, but eternally summer, cooling down to the 70’s and 80’s in the winter and getting back up to the 90’s and 100’s in the summer. Incidentally with no reprieve from the heat there are a few seasonal foods I have shifted from their traditional American time setting to fit into my tropical life. Fudge is one such example. This December dish is added to holiday festivities because of its ease to make compared to other cookies and sweet treats. I’ve started to make fudge in the heat of the Yucatan summer when I can’t stand to turn on the stove and I still need something chocolate.
They say Chocolate is always in season, and that is certainly true for this plant-based kitchen.
Rosemary Summer Fudge
170 g shredded coconut
1 T fresh (1t dried) rosemary
128 g peanut butter (recipe here)
55 g cocoa butter or coconut oil
60 ml maple syrup or agave
pinch of salt
1 t vanilla
1-3 pitted dates, chopped
3T cocoa nibs, nuts or fresh fruit for topping (optional)
process the coconut and rosemary until it forms a smooth paste
Add all the ingredients, except your topping and process until well combined.
Pour into a 9×5 inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Freeze until firm 10-15 minutes before enjoying.
store in the frigide, best served 5-10 minutes out of the fridge.