Tyler takes a scoop of bitter sweet chocolate paste at Mayordomo
Where: The Cacao tree is native to central and south america but is grown also in The Caribbean, Africa, South-East Asia, Samoa and New Guinea.
Dishes: Used for hot drink and rich sauces such as the national dish, Mole Poblano
Serving Suggestion: Make your own mix in a Mexican chocolate shop
The world has Mexico to thank for the gift of chocolate. The Olmecs who lived on the Gulf coast were the first to discover the process of extracting the dark rich substance from the cacao beans.However it was the Aztecs who first introduced the drink to Spanish invaders and they held it in high esteem. When Christopher Columbus first arrived in Honduras, he was suprised to discover that the locals used cocoa beans as their currency. It is said that Hernando Cortes was served his first cup of hot chocolate at the court of Montezuma in 1519.
Today, to the average Mexican, chocolate is used mostly for the hot drink or as the basis for rich sauces such as mole. Chocolate shops in Mexico process the roasted cocoa beans in large metal machines, however the consumer has the choice of what proportion of chocolate bean, cinnamon, almonds and sugar will be used in the final product. Once the recipe is determined, the chocolate beans are fed through a large mill to produce a bitter paste. The paste is then mixed with sugar and the other chosen ingredients and finally moulded into round balls or square tablets ready to take home.
Oaxaca is known as the chocolate capital of Mexico and shops such as Mayordomo or La Soledad are renowned for making the best chocolate in the country.
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The Sweet Lure of Chocolate
Take a closer look at the sweet lure of chocolate. Contains the history of chocolate, follow the chocolate-making process, and take an online visit to a chocolate factory, health issues and explores the question of why chocolate make us feel so good.