We are just back from our trip to Mexico with a bag full of goodies to talk about. Most of our time was spent exploring the fascinating markets in Oaxaca city, with a final stint for some sun in Puerto Angel.
The Oaxaca region is rightly considered the food bowl of Mexico with its fertile valleys producing an abundance of tropical fruit and vegetables. It is also famous for its moles, a type of sauce, its string cheese (quesillo), its toasted grasshoppers (chapulines) and its chocolate.
Chocolate has played an important part in the Mexican diet for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Once considered the 'food of the gods', chocolate was made from roasting cocoa beans, grinding them and then mixing them with sugar, spices and walnuts or almonds.
This traditional method of making chocolate can still be found in Mexico however it's getting harder to find with the rise of commercial chocolatiers like Mayordomo. The signature Mayordomo shop is located in the 'chocolate quarter' of Oaxaca on 20 de Novembre Street and Hildago Aveue. The smell is intoxicating and lures young and old in to sample its wares. The lines went out the door.
I bought several chunks of chocolate from a smaller chocolatier in the 20 de Novembre Mercado (market). The fragrant chocolate is infused with cinnamon, raw sugar and just a hint of cloves. It's not the kind of treat that you'd just snack on as it's quite gritty but it's perfect for hot chocolates or in sauces.
Chocolate drinks are made using a Molinillo (moh-lin-nyee-oh); a traditional wooden implement used to whisk the hot chocolate until it froths. The Molinillo is held between the palms of the hand and then spun back and forth to break down the chocolate and aerate the hot milk or water.
The whisking makes a very distinct and comforting sound. This, paired with the rich aroma of the hot chocolate, greeted us almost every morning during our trip. We've got at least 20 cups of chocolate left in our precious chunks. Drinking the last one will be bittersweet.