What is Mexican Hot Chocolate?
Connoisseurs of chocolate know that the purest chocolate taste experience is a hot, frothy mug of Mexican Hot Chocolate. Remember that real, natural chocolate doesn't start out a candy bar or baking ingredient. Chocolate grows on a tree in a pod, and must be harvested and dried before it is processed into candy or cake ingredients. Mexican chocolate is the natural, unadulterated flavor of chocolate.
Chocolate is a native plant in Mexico, where it is minimally processed before it is served. Real chocolate is packed full of powerful anti-oxidants, and helps lower blood pressure. Once chocolate is refined, and processed into candy or pastries, it is stripped of all of its health benefits. Mexican chocolate is unrefined, natural, and healthy.
When a chocolate pod is harvested from the tree, the pulp is extracted, and dried. The cacao bean, which is encased in the pulp, is then roasted and ground, along with cinnamon, sugar and perhaps other flavorings like almonds or vanilla. Once the chocolate has been processed in this fashion, it is ready to use as a Mexican chocolate drink, or can be added to other food recipes such as a mole sauce.
In chocolate growing regions, it is not uncommon for households to have their own molienda, or custom grinding recipes. Neighborhood chocolate grinders will freshly grind the chocolate to the exact specifications customers, sending their freshly prepared molienda home in a neat paper wrapped package.
How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate
Inferior chocolate that is prepared as a hot beverage, such as powders and syrups, are mixed with milk to give an added creaminess, which conveniently masks "off" flavors. Real stone ground Mexican chocolate has the natural flavor of cacao. Each chocolate plantation produces cacao with distinct flavor nuances, just like single origin coffees, or wines. The best, most authentic, traditional method of preparing Mexican Hot Chocolate that reveals all of its flavor is preparing it with water.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe: Drop 1 oz of Mexican Chocolate into 1 cup of boiling water, allowing the chocolate to melt. Be careful to lower the heat on your stove, and stir constantly, so that the chocolate does not stick to the bottom of the pan and scorch. This will make one serving.
The Most Authentic Touch to Mexican Hot Chocolate is the Froth
The Ancient Mayans achieved the perfect froth on the cups of chocolate presented to their kings by pouring the chocolate quickly from one vessel to another. By raising a chocolate filled vessel over their head, the servant preparing the chocolate would then pour the contents into another vessel which was placed at their feet, where it would foam vigorously. Of course, this method might make a big mess in your modern kitchen, so we suggest that you use a traditional molinillo, a hand carved wooden frother. Quickly rub the stem of the molinillo between your hands, which will cause the carved rings and rounded base of the molinillo to spin. When submerged in a pitcher of hot chocolate and spun, a molinillo creates a perfect foamy head of chocolate. Electric immersion blenders also work very well, especially in restaurant settings, or when you need to prepare a large batch of hot chocolate.
You can also use a regular blender, but be very careful. Blender containers that are over-filled with hot liquids have a tendency to explode.
Where to Buy Mexican Chocolate
Of course, we carry the best Mexican chocolate right here at Melissa Guerra! We highly recommend Taza Chocolate, which is ground and prepared here in the United States. Taza Chocolate has a fresh, floral aroma and comes in a wide variety of flavors, including Ginger, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Salt and Pepper, and our in-store best seller, Salted Almond. La Popular Chocolate is terrific as a beverage, but most of our chef customers buy it for use in a mole sauce recipe, as it is an excellent value. La Popular is manufactured in Monterrery, Mexico, and is traditionally flavored with cinnamon and sugar. If you don't have time to order online, you can always check your local Latin American market.