Once you’ve tried Mexican hot chocolate, the thought of going back to that instant pseudo-chocolate powder in a packet is unthinkable.  For the uninitiated, the south-of-the-border variety of hot chocolate comes in discs—blocks of bitter chocolate mixed with sugar, cinnamon and sometimes nuts. The texture is grainy. To make a cup of cocoa, you melt a few pieces of a disc in hot milk or hot water and then blend until it gets nice and frothy. If you want to be authentic, we suggest you pick up a molinillo (a Mexican wooden whisk) at Sherman Market to do the frothing.

Byron Cabrera of La Internacional Market reports that their chocolate prices haven’t gone up any time recently. You can get a 19 oz. box of Ibarra Mexican chocolate for a mere $3.50. The cinnamon-tinged Ibarra is made by Chocolatera de Jalisco of Guadalajara, Mexico. This weighty box of chocolate goes for much more at fancy gourmet stores so La Internacional offers a great bargain.

Of course spring cometh and hot cocoa season is winding down. Yet Mexican chocolate discs are also great for cooking—think brownies.  And Taza’s stone-ground chocolate is almost too good to use in hot chocolate. We recommend eating it straight up. Or visit Taza’s recipe page and find recipes for chocolate pecan pie and vegan guajillo chili chocolate Mexicano cupcakes. You can buy Taza chocolate discs at Sherman Market, Sherman Cafe and Bloc 11.

The price around town for a Taza chocolate disc is generally $4.50; in New York City, they go for as much as $5.99. When buying a disc, the fun part is picking flavors, which include: Yerba Mate, Salted Almond, Vanilla Bean and Salt & Pepper (sounds weird, tastes divine).

To learn about the history and culture of chocolate in Mexico go here: Gourmet Sleuth.