11 October 2006

Mexican Hot Chocolate, Kickass!

Sometimes, when you have a friend who is traveling abroad, and you think he or she may be inclined to bring back a souvenir for you, you have to ask him or her for exactly what you want.

If your friend is going to Antarctica, for example, and you really want a snow globe with a penguin inside it, you must be very specific in your request. You should say, “Friend, when you go to that cold place, and you are thinking of buying something for me, can you get me a snow globe with a penguin inside? And if they don’t have penguin snow globes in Antarctica, can you buy me a candle made from the fat of a seal?” Because unless you ask, chances are your friend is probably not going to buy you a penguin snow globe or a seal fat candle from anywhere unless he or she is prompted to do so.

I personally know that this straightforward strategy works. I know because I used it on a friend who recently traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico. I said to my friend, “Friend, when you go to that hot place, can you bring back some Mexican chocolate for me, you know, the kind with the spices in it?” And she said, “Kickass!”

Bars of Mexican chocolate are unlike bars of American chocolate. In pre-Columbian times, Mayans and Aztecs would roast beans from the native cacao tree and then add spices and water to create a foamy beverage called chocolatl. It is chocolatl that Montezuma (the last Aztec emperor) supposedly drank in goblets before visiting his ladies in the harem. I wonder if Montezuma’s lady friends in the harem ever got any chocolatl. I bet the ugly ones didn’t.

Did my friend bring me back spicy Mexican chocolate from Oaxaca? Yes! She did! And being the kickass friend that she is, she also brought back a round, wooden whisk called a molinillo, which you rub back and forth between your palms to create a beautiful froth. I love my present. I am so much luckier than Montezuma's ugly concubines.

see the flecks of cinnamon and almond?

Mexican Hot Chocolate
1. Get your hands on a bar of Mexican chocolate. My friend brought back “Chocolate Mayordomo de Oaxaco,” which is a chocolate bar with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds ground into it. If you don’t have Mexican chocolate, use semi-sweet chocolate with various enhancements such as cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, cayenne, or ground chiles peppers.
2. In a saucepan, heat the milk and the chocolate (and spices, if using). Stir with the
molinillo (or whisk) until the chocolate has dissolved and the liquid is at a sipping temperature of your liking.


Thanks Koss!

Note: The first picture at the top of this post is being submitted for October 2006 "Does My Blog Look Good In This?" event, which is being hosted by Andrew at Spitoon Extra. You can see the other photos here.


aria said...

how dare you threaten to hypothetically request candles made from the fat of a seal! just kidding, the hot chocolate looks so good, mmmmm yummmmm!

Helene said...

Those picture of the hot chocolate are to die for!
You have great friends!

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted you are gaga over a chocolatey frothed-up cup of sheer kickass energy. I remember you were the only one at your ninth-grade Hallween party to leave an empty mug. Where did I go wrong with the others? Was it the hint of orange peel or that my chocolate was from the Yucatan instead of the heart of Mexico? Perhaps it was just that our white-bread friends expected Swiss Miss with bobbing, styrofoam marshmallows.

Lisa said...

That hot chocolate actually does kick ass. Wow! Love the photos, especially the "whipping" one.

Your story reminds me of the time a friend and I found out a coworker was going to Rome, and we said, hmm, what can we ask her to bring back for us? We looked at each other and light bulbs went off: Of course! Shoes and handbags! Sadly, we didn't get either. I ended up with a canister to put salt in. It was no Ferragamo, either.

Erielle said...

Thanks Aria and Helene! It's too bad the chocolate is so hard to find in the States. Or maybe I'm just not trying hard enough.

Momma~ I remember that Halloween party- we made a huge mess carving pumpkins, right? Good times.

Lisa, if your friend didn't bring you back what you asked for that means she's not your real friend. Just kidding. Shoes and handbags only last a few years, but salt canisters last forever! Your friend knows what you really need.

à la bob said...

I'm sure that by now you've found Abuelita in the Mexican stores around town, eh?