Mexican Hot Chocolate | Chocolate Caliente

Swoon to the movie “Like Water for Chocolate”? We do. For many reasons, among them the fact that the title draws, word for word, on an ageless and really quite apt Mexican saying. See, when someone is said to be “like water for chocolate,” they’re at the point of boiling over with emotion. Makes perfect sense when you consider that in Mexico, where hot chocolate is made the proper way and not from pathetic little envelopes, water must be sufficiently caliente in order to melt the discs of slowly toasted, hand-ground cacao, sugar, and aromatics into something to sip. This old-fashioned approach results in the “wonderfully frothy hot chocolate from Oaxaca” that Fany Gerson speaks of in her book, My Sweet Mexico, and captures in the recipe below.

Said chocolate discs—or tablets, as Gerson says—exist in a vast array of styles. Plain. Infused with chiles. Spiced. Nutty. With a lilt of vanilla. And, um, other intriguing things. They can also be a little tricky to find. If you want Mexican hot chocolate that’s truly made from scratch, consider making your own chocolate tablets as Gerson instructs in her lovely, lavish book. If that’s a little beyond your desired commitment, seek out Mexican chocolate discs at specialty stores, online, or, natch, in Mexico.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Holy Moli-What? Note

Mexican hot chocolate is traditionally energetically beaten with a molinillo and, according to Gerson, poured from up high so the not-too-sweet sipper is foamy. She says it’s okay to use a whisk if you don’t have a wooden tool that’s turned with the palms of your hands to froth the hot chocolate. But for best results, just make sure the chocolate is really frothy and really hot before you drink it.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup or so whole milk or water
  • 1 Mexican chocolate disc or tablet, broken into pieces (these may be flavored with almonds, spice, chiles, vanilla, or nothing but cacao)

Directions

  • 1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Add the chocolate (the quantity depends on how rich you like your hot chocolate), reduce the heat, and stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and froth vigorously with a molinillo, a whisk, or a hand mixer until you have a nice, bubbly foam. Immediately pour into a mug.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Comments
Comments
  1. Penny Wolf says:

    My grandmother gave my brother and me our first true hot chocolate. (Not Mexican, though.) Being used to only hot Nestle’s Quik, we thought Grandma was magical to turn Hershey bars into a thick and creamy concoction. Circa 1965. Thank you for this reminder.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You’re quite welcome, Penny. And thank you for the lovely reminder that proper hot chocolate can be as simple as melting any chocolate with milk into a steaming puddle of goodness.

  2. Mary says:

    I was admiring this cookbook last night at the bookstore and now I want to go back and get it. But it’s snowing, so perhaps I’ll just make a cup of Mexican hot chocolate instead. I don’t drink hot chocolate often, but when I do, it has to be Mexican.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Lovely, Mary. And when you’re warmed from the inside out, perhaps you’ll stomp through the snow to the store to pick up that copy of My Sweet Mexico. Well worth the price as well as the chilly walk. I’m over the moon for it. Look for more of it here on site soon.

  3. I hate to admit it but I am a hot chocolate envelope gal and my kids and I have never had the pleasure of Mexican hot chocolate. Thanks for the motivation to give it a try. The Mexican chocolate flavored with chiles sounds too good!!

  4. Sarah-A Beach Home Companion says:

    How funny you should post this, I just got two of these last week in a gift bag and did a little blog about it. I now have two molinillos, so if anyone wants one, let me know and I’ll send it to you!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Two molinillos! Sarah, I am completely serious when I say that is living large…

  5. It looks amazing! I love preparing hot chocolate with Sarawak pepper.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail