Food of the Gods, a Chocolate Tour
Love chocolate?! Come to Oaxaca, where chocolate is part of the culture, and comes in many forms and flavors.
Recently I had the pleasure of going on a chocolate tour with Chris, of Oaxaca Profundo Tours, where he shared not only tons of tastes, but also the rich history surrounding this flavorful food.
While we we tend to just think of chocolate as that sweet confection we eat as a treat, there is so much more to this “food of the gods.”
For instance, did you know that chocolate was once used as currency? Instead of gold, cacao beans were used to pay for purchases. Different beans even have unique markings that sometimes were copied by counterfeiters!
While learning about the role of cacao, both economically and symbolically in Mesoamerican culture, we tasted many different variations at Texier, shared with smiles by our friendly Oaxacan hosts.
Chris dove into the history of the plant itself, and its eccentrities. I won’t tell all – you’ll have to come take the tour yourself!
From there we made our way to the organic Pochote market for almuerzo (breakfast) where we counterbalanced our caffeine and sugar high with the history and importance of maize, while of course eating, among other things, maize. With a choice of many menu items, we filled up, and were soon ready to hit the chocolate trail again.
We strolled along a “chocolate street,” past a chocolate hotel…
…to the famous Mayordomo, where we saw and discussed the process of making cacao into chocolate (it’s a lot of work, but what a sweet job!)
This included more samples, of course, both liquid and solid. We slurped down what tasted like a cool and creamy chocolate milkshake – I might have to go back for more!
As you can guess, there were plenty of opportunities to purchase chocolate in its many forms to take with you.
At the Benito Juarez market we tried some tejate, a corn and chocolate drink, digging deep again into the traditions that once, and perhaps still, inform Oaxacans about their ancestors and gods. Chocolate in its liquid form was, and still is, used as a ceremonial drink.
Often chocolate is whisked to a froth with these beautiful hand-carved wooden instruments called molinillos, which are held between your hands and rotated by rubbing your palms together.
We ended our tour at Xhuladii Chocolates, a little shop in centro for our last bite of gourmet truffles, before parting ways to head for siestas to recouperate from our chocolate comas!
If you love chocolate, I highly recommend Oaxaca Profundo Tours with the very knowledgeable Chris, for the history, culture, and art of making chocolate, Oaxaca-style. Just make sure you go there hungry!