Mexican food and chocolate are a match made in heaven but did you know that chocolate originated from Mexico and Mesoamerica. Chocolate is made from the cacao bean, whose Latin translation is “food of the gods”, has been cherished for centuries.
The cacao tree, where chocolate comes from, was first used among the Mayans. They created a potent drink made from the cacao bean that was used as a ritual beverage and shared during betrothal and marriage ceremonies. This drink is very different from the sweet chocolates that people enjoy today, as it was strong and sour – nothing like the chocolate treats and drinks that are sold in stores and restaurants nowadays!
The Mayans were the first large-scale farmers and consumers of chocolate. After the Aztecs’ dominance of the Mayans, the Aztecs inherited this affinity for chocolate. Cacao beans were used as a form of currency. The cacao was also used to cure colds and fevers during this time. The Ivory Coast remains the biggest exporter of chocolate in the world. However, chocolate’s roots are in Mexico. The way that it still features in popular Mexican cuisine shows indicates how strong the historic ties of this ingredient still is.
Today, chocolate is still used as a staple ingredient in many famous Mexican dishes. Mole Poblano, which is one of Mexico’s iconic and most cherished dish, is made with a unique and complex combination of Mexican chocolate, peanuts and chile spices. Champurrado (Chocolate-Based Atole) is a thick, comforting, warm chocolate drink. Traditional Mexican hot coco is flavored with cinnamon, whipped with a traditional molinillo (wood wisk) and is still a much-loved favorite among Mexicans as well as tourists.