Recipe Meso-American Savory Chocolate Beverage

Mountain Cat

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This one may well be an acquired taste. Simply: be forewarned! This is New World Aztec, Mayan, or Meso-American

chocolate-bev-served.jpg


The various pre-Columbian tribes and nations that occupied current-day Mexico and Guatemala made use of the cacao bean we've come to know today as the confectioner's delight -- chocolate. One of those nations was comprised largely of the Aztec people, and as this particular preparation is associated with them in the literature both of the times and now - I've named this drink, "Aztec Chocolate Beverage". But this or similar variants were common through a large part of central America prior to the coming of the Spaniards. (It was the Spaniards who brought the cacao bean back to Europe, where it got played with, and doctored, into so many new permutations, mostly of the sweet sort.

Theobroma cacao is a small evergreen tree which grows no taller than about 25 feet / 8 meters in height, and is native to Mesoamerica, surviving only in tropical regions. Much of what is grown these days has been transplanted to Africa (and intensively in the nation of Ivory Coast).

cacao-pod-x-section-keith-weller-usda-ars.jpg


Cross section of a cacao pod, with beans inside. Photo by Keith Weller, USDA-ARS, public domain

Recipe Source:
Aztec Chocolate or Spanish Chocolate Drink Recipe

The inspirations here are ancient, some of the methodology is modern.

For the chili, I chose ground Guajillo. It has a low to moderate heat, and a wonderful ancillary flavor. For less heat, try Ancho, perhaps. Or for more heat, and limited subtlety, go Cayenne.

Mixing and frothing was obviously a bigger, time-consuming deal back in pre-Columbian and early Columbian times. I use modern tools today.

Prep Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: Enough to boil some water.
Rest Time: Not essential.
Serves: 1 serving each.
Cuisine: Mesoamerican. (Aztec, Mayan....)
Leftovers: You can, and re-heat. Or drink at room temperature, after stirring again.


MesoAmerican Chocolate Beverage


INGREDIENTS:

1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, shaved or grated, OR 1 ounce unsweetened cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup boiling water

ground chili to taste
(I used Guajillo chili powder, starting with 1/4 teaspoon - which is all I needed, but feel free to start at 1/8th teaspoon.)

METHOD:

Grate the unsweetened chocolate (OR measure the unsweetened cacao powder into a bowl or perhaps a mortar), and cover with a small amount of boiling water.

If using the shaved/grated baking chocolate, mash the mixture into a paste. Add the rest of the water and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer or hand mixer until frothy. Add the chili powder, and mix further. (The cocoa powder, if using, won't need mashing.)

The chocolate may not totally dissolve, especially with the baking chocolate bar, and will have a grittiness to it. For a more authentic drink let the mixture cool to room temperature, and then beat further until frothy. I have a mini-frother for my coffee maker (should I want espresso) so I used that. Drink and enjoy, but do NOT expect sweetness!

If you wish to make more of a Spanish concoction, add some sugar and milk. This savory beverage actually grows (slowly) on me! Although I listed this as one serving, you may want to try the one serving among two or so people at first. Those small Japanese saki cups might work nicely in such a case.
But, I stayed with the pre-Columbian South of the Border variant!
 

The Late Night Gourmet

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Oh boy...I am definitely making this. I think I'll make it the way you suggest first, then try stirring in some of my mole.

How is the punch from the vanilla extract? I normally don't add more than a teaspoon for a quart of ice cream or a whole batch of brownies, so this seems like a lot for a small container.
 

The Late Night Gourmet

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If you want to be more authentic,
View attachment 65002

The first time I saw 1 of of those, I was like what in the world is that used for?

Image from Shopify
I am traveling to Belize in a few weeks (if they don't shut down the airlines!) and I will be on the lookout for one of these when I'm there.
 

Mountain Cat

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Oh boy...I am definitely making this. I think I'll make it the way you suggest first, then try stirring in some of my mole.

How is the punch from the vanilla extract? I normally don't add more than a teaspoon for a quart of ice cream or a whole batch of brownies, so this seems like a lot for a small container.
Actually, the punch ended up subtle. The Guajillo had more of a bang. Both worked well, I suspect the chili muted the vanilla to some degree.

Let us know how the mole goes with it! I bet it will be good.
If you want to be more authentic,
View attachment 65002

The first time I saw 1 of of those, I was like what in the world is that used for?

Image from Shopify
I need one of those!
 
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