Thursday, September 23, 2010

FOOD: Chocolate a la Mexicana

Chocolate in most cultures is synonymous to delicious, but in Mexico is also related to family, to sharing, tradition, cold nights and to a drink that warms our souls and and reminds us just how old this country really is.

Chocolate Caliente, simply translated hot chocolate is a tradition that pre-dates the conquest of mexico by Spain, it was a ceremonial drink for the Mayans and the cacao beans where so valuable to them they where used as currency and offerings to their Gods. Chocolate was a bitter and spicy drink and was not meant for all.

"Sorry man you can't have any.  This stuff is for royalty only ."

The recipie has evolved over the centuries and today it sweet flavor  with its cinnamon notes and deep chocolate taste, is so unikely Mexican that you can not find it anywhere else, Chocolate caliente is not your every day powder hot cocoa with milk, in fact and Ive never seen anyone stick a marshmallow on top, (what for?), this is potent stuff and I may add a little addictive.

Chocolate bar, Molinillo (wood frother) and hot chocolate.. YUMMM

The key ingredient is Chocolate de Mesa, you can get this at most latin markets or the latin section of your grocery store, and its a rustic chocolate bar, what that means is that the sugar is granulated, meant to be disolved in the hot milk, not your mouth, it has a hint of cinnamon that compliments chocolate perfectly.  Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, simmer and develop a froth with the molinillo, you cant get any simpler than that.

A few years ago a friend of mine was nice enough to bring me two whole cacao pods, the experience was amazing Im sorry I did not blog back then, each of the 20 to 30 cacao seed is covered with a delicious white pulp sweet and with a taste that I can only compare to a lychee, I then cleaned the seeds, dry them (sun or dehydrator) toasted them and used every ounce of strength in my body to pound them to a fine powder. add sugar and gently bring  up the temperature add a dash of ground cinnamon and mix until it starts to come together slightly.  the smell is incredible.

You end up with lumps of  chocolate paste. this my friends is one experience you will always remember .
So take my word and treat your self to a drink that once was reserved for royalty.


If you don't have a frother a whisk and some elbow grease will do the trick.


  1. This was a great post. Just became a follower and look forward to more...I wish I was royalty...what a great experience

    Platanos, Mangoes and Me!

  2. That looks like a cup of hot cocoa that I wouldn't pass up!