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Origins of Mexican Hot Chocolate (Champurrado)

Champurrado is a thick, chocolate-based drink made with corn flour, or maza.  It is also called Mexican hot chocolate and is thought to originate from Mexico's ancient civilizations. The Aztecs and Mayans blended cocoa beans and vanilla to create an energizing drink. The main ingredient is less intense than dark chocolate and there are many variations, ranging from sweet to spicy.

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Authentic Mexican chocolate caliente is comforting, as hot chocolate should be, but it is also unexpectedly refreshing. The main ingredient is less intense than the darker chocolate often used in other versions of this beverage, and the cinnamon is nothing short of stimulating. There are many variations for Mexican hot chocolate which can vary the taste from spicy to sweet.

In Mexico, hot chocolate is most often prepared with tablets of rustic chocolate de mesa, “table chocolate,” which can be easily found in the U.S. at Mexican grocery stores and even large supermarkets. The two most common brands are Ibarra (made by a company in Jalisco, Mexico) and Abuelita (a Nestle product). These tablets contain cacao paste, of course, but also sugar and cinnamon. This chocolate has a grainier texture than baking or milk chocolate.

People in Mexico often partake of this comforting drink for breakfast or a late supper any day of the week, as well as at Christmastime (such as the Posadas celebrations) and for special occasions such as Day of the Dead.

Mexican hot chocolate is often served with delicious sweet bread or basic white bread (such as bolillos), which is dunked into the hot liquid.