Throughout the centuries a food that was born to honor the Aztec aristocracy and worship ancient gods has become a favorite to millions of people around the world; some even claim it is addictive. I am not ashamed to admit it: I'm Edie J. Adler, and I am a chocoholic. Some times I wonder if it is hereditary; my grandmother was also an admitted chocoholic!
Ever since I was a little girl chocolate has been one of my favorite treats. I once ate two pounds of See's Candy trying to "cure" my addictionÔÇªit did not work! I am not alone in this. 600,000 TONS of chocolate are consumed every year in the world. The average person eats 11.5 pounds of chocolate a year.
But where does chocolate come from? From the cocoa bean, of course! In ancient Mexico the cocoa bean was considered more valuable than gold or silver. People used cocoa beans as currency to trade for other goods. The cocoa bean was the only thing with unlimited trade value. For instance, if you wanted to trade your corn for avocados, you'd have to go around the market place until you found an avocado vendor willing to take your corn; but if you had cocoa beans to trade, you could use them to buy anything.
The cocoa bean was so precious that when the Spaniards came to America, the native people would hide them.
The cocoa bean was also used to make a special drink that was reserved for kings and emperors, and the highest ranking warriors. They would grind the cocoa beans and boil the resulting powder in water.
The emperor Moctezuma (that is the correct pronunciation) was known to drink up to 50 portions of the special drink named chocolatl. The beverage was so precious it would be served in golden goblets which would be discarded afterward. (How would you like to find that trash can!)
Among the many treasures the Spaniards took back to Spain, there were the cocoa beans. It did not take long before chocolate was acclaimed throughout Europe as a delicious, health-giving food.
Now let's fast forward a little through history: The invention of the cocoa press in 1828 helped to improve the quality of the beverage by squeezing out part of the cocoa butter, the fat that occurs naturally in cocoa beans. From then on, drinking chocolate had more of the smooth consistency and the pleasing flavor it has today.
In Mexico many people drink hot chocolate as part of their breakfast or supper. Making real Mexican hot chocolate, and not the thin, nasty tasting stuff you get in coffee shops in the USA, is not that hard.
Just go to the Mexican food section of your local market and buy a package of the chocolate round pastes. Logically, I like "Abuelita", since Sara Garcia (the lady on the package) reminds me of my own grandma.
Then get a quart of 2% milk (to keep it a bit healthier) and place two of the chocolate round pastes in the milk. You can add more or less, depending on how sweet you like it.
Bring this to a boil, stirring often so the paste melts quicker, and prevent it from sticking to your pot.
That's all! Now you can enjoy real Mexican hot chocolate. If you want to make it even more traditional, drink it with your favorite pan dulce or bolillo. ?íEnjoy!