Aug 06

Mexican Hot Chocolate & Champurrados

Tasty churros and hot chocolate

Tasty churros and hot chocolate

We are surrounded by chocolate. It is in candy bars of course, cakes, and other baked goods. Then there are the little hints of chocolate in other things, like lip gloss, perfume, even a men’s body spray. Now it is beginning to appear in savory combinations. This should not come as any surprise. Mexican cooks have been making Mole Poblano for centuries.

Chocolate, spelled the same in English and Spanish, was after all the Food of the Gods in Aztec culture. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, it was known as Xocalatl, meaning “Bitter Water.” This was made by boiling together fermented, roasted then pulverized cocoa beans, chili peppers, vanilla, and achiote (a seed that yields annato, a colorant used in food and giving a slightly bitter tang to food).

Cortez came to the new world in search of gold. He returned gold, silver and slaves to his queen. He also returned the “Food of the Gods,” chocolate.

Europeans never developed a taste for the Bitter Water. Instead, they modified and adjusted it to fit their tastes. Water was replaced with milk, achiote and chilies were replaced with sugar. In Spain, they added just a pinch of cinnamon.

Traditional Mexican Chocolate can be found in the local grocery stores. Abuelita is one brand. It comes in a seven sided yellow and red box with a picture of someone’s sweet grandmother (Abuela) on the front. The disks inside are the same shape as the box. and are scored seven wedges

To recreate the modern Mexican version of food of the gods, you will need:

Mexican Hot Chocolate

What You Need:

  • Four cups of milk
  • one whole disk of Abuelita Chocolate

How to Make It:

Grate the chocolate over the milk. Heat on low until it is almost to the boiling point.

With a wire whisk or a Molinillo (a special implement invented by a Spaniard in the late 1700s). Before the invention of the Molinillo, chocolate was frothed by pouring from cup to cup. The Molinillo is made from turned wood, and fits down inside a container, such as a chocolate pot, and is rubbed back and forth between the palms the chocolate develops a meaningful froth.

If you want something a little more substantial than just hot chocolate, why not try Champurrados?

Champurrados are a hot beverage, but they have a little more “body” to them. You will need:


What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup masa
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablets of Abuelita Chocolate, grated or roughly chopped.

How to Make It:

In a large saucepan, combine the water and mama, adding the water gradually and working out the lumps. Add the milk and the grated chocolate. Heat over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for another one to three minutes, or until it has reached the desired thickness.

When you pour it into the cups, serve with a cinnamon stick to stir.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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