…the Aztec word from which ‘chocolate’ is derived.
Modern day Mexico is credited as the ‘birthplace’ of chocolate. Pre-Colombian civilizations in this area made the seeds of the cacao pod an integral part of their societies.
A Brief History of Chocolate – Smithsonian
The name theobroma is a Greek term for the cacao plant. It translates as “food of the gods”, very à propos as this beverage was considered a drink for Aztec and Mayan VIPs only. Theobromine comes from the original Greek word and identifies the alkaloid substance in chocolate that is chemically similar to caffeine. Theobromine has been found to have the following properties:
- bronchiodilator (lungs)
- blood vessel dilator (thus helping to lower blood pressure)
Once the Spaniards got a hold of the cacao seeds, brought them back to the Old World and added cane sugar (from the Caribbean colonies), it spawned the makings of chocolate as we know it today. Since then, various other ingredients have been added to chocolate i.e. vanilla, milk, nuts, fruit, liqueur.
Mexican hot chocolate is not your average cup of cocoa. It is sweet, spicy and rich in bittersweet chocolate. The Aztecs were said to drink an unsweetened version of chocolate ‘paste’ mixed with water and laced with spices to promote virility, vitality and strength. Below is my interpretation of a typical modern-day Mexican hot chocolate recipe.
- 1 cup organic soy or rice milk (organic or unadulterated cow’s milk can be substituted)
- 1 cinnamon stick-about the length of your index finger
- a sprinkling of chili pepper
- a splash of Mexican vanilla – about ½ teaspoon
- ¼ cup dark chocolate shavings-adjust amount up or down to taste
- 1 Tablespoon agave nectar-adjust amount up or down to desired sweetness
- Place all ingredients except agave nectar into heavy bottomed pot. Heat on medium-high until the chocolate melts. Stir frequently.
- Remove from heat.
- Put agave nectar into cup. Pour mixture from pot into cup. Stir.
Enjoy and take note to see if your vitality has increased.
Battle of the Beverages
Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder while hot chocolate is made with ground chocolate.
If you want a strong chocolate taste without all the fat, then hot cocoa is the drink for you.