Mexican chocolate is different than most chocolates. Mexican chocolate tends to have less additives than regular chocolate. It is usually a semi-sweet dark chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. For centuries, chocolate was made this way.
Chocolate comes from the seed of the cacao plant. The cacao plant is endemic to Mexico. Hundreds of years ago the indigenous people learned how to harvest the cacao pod. The pulp of the pod was eaten and the seeds were transformed into chocolate.
How is Mexican Chocolate made?
The shell is removed after the pods are harvested. After the pods are removed, the seeds are left enveloped in pulp. Extra flavor is developed if the pulp is left on the the seeds. The seeds are left to ferment for several days. Next, the seeds are dried in the sun. Once all the moisture is removed from the seeds, they are ready to be toasted. The cacao nibs are toasted on a comal. Finally, the toasted seeds are crushed on a metate.
Cacao, corn, chiles and other ingredients are crushed with the metate—a large flat stone with rolling pin. This is a common kitchen tool used in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The ingredient to be crushed is placed on the flat surface and a heavy pin is rolled across to crush the cacao nibs. As the nibs are crushed, the oils are released and they begin to take on a grainy, pasty texture. Sugar is slowly added to the paste until your desired sweetness is reached. You can also add cinnamon. Last, the paste is the rolled into balls or pat into bricks and left to dry. Now the chocolate is ready for cooking or to prepare for drinking.
Mexican Chocolate at the Supermarket
You can find Mexican chocolate at your local Supermarket in the Hispanic or international food section. Look for brands like Ibarra Mexican Chocolate or Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate in its hexagonal package. Easily distinguished by the little grandma sipping hot chocolate. Each package contains 6 tablets. The tablets can easily be broken into pieces because they are scored like a pie. This chocolate is great to use for mole or hot chocolate.