Hola, everybody! It´s been raining for days here in my little corner of Mexico, and I am seriously sick of it. It’s cold, and there’s a constant drizzle that just won’t let up. Ugh. The good news is that this is perfect weather for some comfort food. And I know just the thing to cheer me up- a cup of Mexican-style hot chocolate!

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I must confess I am a real chocolate lover. FYI, I specially prefer dark, bitter chocolate over the light, very sweet kind. If you are anything like me, you are not alone. Millions of people all over the planet share a passion for chocolate, which is perhaps Mexico’s greatest gift the world. What? You didn’t know that? Let’s sit down, have a cup, and I will tell you the story.

How To Make Mexican Chocolate

First, let’s make some hot chocolate! Pour four cups of milk and a tablespoon of vainilla into a saucepan, and warm it up on low heat. Watch it carefully, or it will spill all over the stove. Take it from me!

How to make mexican hot chocolate

Now, grab a tablet of Mexican chocolate and drop it into the milk. I know, it looks like a hockey puck, and it’s also just as hard. But don’t worry! As incredible as it may sound, it will completely dissolve in the hot milk. If you want, you can smash it to pieces first, but you might need a hammer for that! It’s best to just throw it in there and let it melt.

How to make mexican hot chocolate

I used two tablets because the more chocolate the better, right? I also made another version with almond milk for myself because I’m lactose intolerant. That’s something you didn’t know about me!

After a few minutes, gently stir the milk and to help dissolve the chocolate. Once it does, it’s time to make it frothy. You will need to use this strange looking thing.

Mexican utensil for making chocolate

This utensil is called a molinillo, and its only purpose is to make frothy, hot chocolate. Every Mexican housewife has one! Put it in the saucepan, hold it between your hands, and rub it rapidly to make it spin. Come on! Spin it faster! The milk won’t splash out of the saucepan, I swear.

How to make mexican hot chocolate

Spin the thing until you accomplish two things- a great arm workout and frothy chocolate!

How to make mexican hot chocolate

Finally, pour the drink into cups, sprinkle with cinnamon, sit back, and enjoy while I tell you the legend of chocolate.

The Legend Of Chocolate

Once upon a time, the god Quetzalcoatl came down from heaven and brought the light of knowledge to Mankind. He taught humans science, art, agriculture and architecture. With his help, humans prospered and grew wise, and Quetzalcoatl was so proud that he decided to give them another precious gift.

Quetzalcoatl went back up to heaven and secretly brought back with him a cacao tree that he planted in the fields next to the sacred city of Tula. The tree grew and gave fruit, and then Quetzalcoatl showed humans how to pick the fruit’s seeds and use them to make a divine drink reserved for the gods- xocolatl, or chocolate.

Aztec depiction of chocolate
Ancient depiction of the cacao tree- Source: chocolatinart.worpdress.com

Chocolate made humans ever stronger and wiser. So much so, that eventually the other gods took notice. They became became furious when they realized that humans had been drinking chocolate and that Quetzalcoatl had given it to them. So, the gods devised a plan to punish him for sharing the secret of chocolate.

One day, Quetzalcoatl met a foreign trader, who was really one of the other gods in disguise. The fake trader offered him glasses of tlachihuitli, an alcoholic beverage, until Quetzalcoatl got so drunk he passed out. When he woke up, he realized he had gotten drunk and behaved so shamefully, that the cacao trees had withered and died.

Quetzalcoatl wept and decided to leave forever. He walked to the end of the earth, and before he vanished into the sea, he looked back and threw his last cacao seeds on the ground. Those seeds grew into new trees, and humans were able to keep drinking delicious chocolate for ever after.

Aztec Chocolate

The ancient Olmecs were the first to drink xocolatl, around 2000 B.C, and they passed down the recipe to the Maya and the Aztecs. Chocolate was made by roasting cacao seeds, grinding them, mixing them with other seeds, herbs, spices, and water. Then, the mixture was stirred to make it frothy and it was served cold. There was no sugar back then, so cacao beans were mixed with chili peppers. How does spicy chocolate sound?

However, only kings, priests, and the high class could drink xocolatl. Ordinary people mostly used cacao seeds as a remedy for several diseases or as currency.

Moctezuma and Cortes
The Aztec emperor Moctezuma and Spanish conquistador Cortes-Source: http://www.biografiasyvidas.com

Some historians claim that the Aztec emperor Moctezuma drank 50 cups of xocolatl a day from golden goblets. The drink was said to give enough energy for a soldier to walk a whole day without rest, and it was also considered an aphrodisiac. On a second thought, I think chocolate is still considered an aphrodisiac. Think Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Crazy

When the Spanish conquistadores arrived and met emperor Moctezuma, they were given cups of frothy, spicy xocolatl. After the Spanish conquest, the conquistadores kept drinking xocolatl happily because it was an energy drink. And an aphrodisiac. Let’s not forget that.

For a few more years, chocolate remained spicy and not everyone liked it. Fortunately, a group of clever nuns in Oaxaca came up with the idea of mixing it with milk, sugar, vainilla, and cinnamon. That’s how the classic cup of hot cocoa was born. The recipe became so wildly popular that it caught on in Europe as well. Bless those nuns!

Monks making chocolate
Monks making chocolate-Source: quieresprobar.com

Chocolate became so popular in Spanish-ruled Mexico, that people drank it day and night. Aristocratic ladies even had their maids pour cups for them during church services. Nuns and monks drank cups of chocolate to keep themselves awake during early prayers, but then became so addicted to it that they no longer fasted according to Catholic rituals. You know, for some reason, I truly do not blame them.

This grew into such a scandal, that the bishop in the province of Chiapas decided to simply ban chocolate from churches. However, this enraged people so much, that many even stopped going to church! The bishop remained firm, but it seems he pushed his luck too far. It turns out someone poured poison into the bishop’s daily cup of frothy chocolate and he died soon after. Oh, the irony!

Enjoy chocolate!

Now, we live in the 21st century, and you don’t have to meet an emperor or plot against a bishop to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. All you have to do is grab some milk and a tablet. Oh, and if your really want to enjoy it like we do here in Mexico, grab a concha, or pastry. This is what I call comfort food!

How to enjoy mexican chocolate

As you sip your cup, remember that Quetzalcoatl gave the gift of chocolate to the ancient people of Mexico, and then Mexico gave the gift of chocolate to rest of the world. You’re welcome!

How do you like your chocolate? Tell me about it!

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68 thoughts on “How To Make Mexican Chocolate Fit For An Emperor

  1. It was so interesting learning the history behind Mexican Hot Chocolate. I love that it has cinnamon in it. Also, it was fun to learn about a molinillo. I would like to get one sometime. Thank you for your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, this is too cool! I love how you weave the history into it too! I tried authentic mexican chocolate from a little shop outside of cozumel when I visited two years ago! I spoke to the woman who owned the shop for like twenty minutes about how her family has been making this for generations. A wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There is so much I love about this post!! I grew up in Dominican Republic and my family was in the cocoa bean business, so I grew up with homemade hot chocolate made from the beans in our fields, and I think that also made me partial to the more bitter cocoa for some reason it just tastes more authentic. My grandmother also had a molinillo and would make the chocolate on the stovetop as well. I love running across similarities between cultures, reminds me we are all more similar than we think. The history of chocolate was great, I love that you incorporated that in, and your writing is so fluid and engaging. Definitely following your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Which is why I genuinely LOVE your blog. You include the history but also make it personable, so even a younger person who never got to experience that part of their own culture can come here and be informed and connected. No better way to pass on culture than through food!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh yum! it’s hot chocolate season for us over here as it’s getting colder now. I’ll have to try this method, we usually use cocoa powder. And interesting tidbit: in the Caribbean where I’m from originally, we have something similar to the molinillo that we call a swizzle stick. it’s used for mixing up all kinds of drinks 🙂

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  5. Well I thought your post was awesome, but now I just mad because I’m from Croatia and I don’t think I’ll be able to find Mexican chocolate here 😦 feel free to send it O:-) and yeah, it’s currently raining ☔ here too, so your post really came at the right time 🙂 good work 🙂 keep going 🙂

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  6. Hola! Who needs to buy books when we have Fabiolaofmexico! I really do enjoy your witty conversation put to words! We learn, We giggle and end up with a big smile and some new learned knowledge of Mexico! I still dream of going down there, The news has everyone afraid of it, but you bring back the desire to visit. The culture, the passion and beauty, is very evident in your words! Love it, You make everyone who reads a friend! HUGZ and Gracias!

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  7. I love this blog! I’m Mexican-American and it can be difficult in the states to learn more about my roots. I didn’t know that story about Queztalcoatl and his gift of chocolate. I will have to buy a molinillo and try out this recipe, my mom has Abuelita chocolate and I know she would love to try this out.

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