One of the greatest things that Mexico has given the world is chocolate. I love chocolate, I could eat chocolate every single day of my life until I die (of diabetes or any other weight related disease), but I try to restrain myself to just a couple of days a week.
This past Día de muertos I had a piece of pan de muerto with some hot Mexican chocolate. The perfect combination for a cool autumn night. How is a hot cup of Mexican chocolate any different from a cup of hot cocoa? I will let my good friend Teresa of Mexican Chocolate Lore and More answer that question:
Mexican Chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, sugar, and cacao nibs. It’s gritty but melts just like the smooth American and European chocolate you’re used to. The flavor is intense. It can be used for baking breads and desserts, for sauces, and in beverages.
The history of chocolate, like any other food, is a very interesting one. Did you know that the Aztec emperor Montezuma drank thick chocolate dyed red? The drink was so prestigious that it was served in golden goblets that were thrown away after only one use! I would love to write an essay about chocolate history, but that would be too long for this blog and there are great sites out there that already have timelines of the history of chocolate. This link is one of my favorites.
Hot Mexican chocolate was one of my favorite drinks when we visited my dad’s little town in the Mixteca Sierra. I remember we used to buy circular chocolate bars from a very old lady who made them by hand. My dad and grandma prepared theirs in boiling water, but I always demanded milk for mine, which had generally been milked that same morning. That was truly a very prestigious drink.
Now, I always keep Mexican chocolate in my pantry. I usually get Nestle-Abuelita brand, although Ibarra is another popular brand I’ve seen in grocery stores up here. Don’t be scared by the old lady’s picture on the package. Her name is Sara Garcia, a beloved actress from the Mexican cinema golden age back in the 1920’s and 1930’s. She’s Mexico’s abuelita (grandma).
Mexican chocolate is used for many things, but to make hot chocolate you only need to bring one liter of milk to a boil in a saucepan, add one chocolate bar and stir constantly until melted. Hot Mexican chocolate is a delicious and timeless beverage for the emperor and empress of the house.