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The History of Chocolate and Mexican Hot Chocolate #cookthebooksclub

Who wouldn't love a book about chocolate, time travel and love that never ends?  

mexican hot chocolate made with a molinillo

I guess that would be me, and I am typically one that loves all books.  Our Cook the Books club read The History of Chocolate by James Runcie. I enjoyed the beginning, as Deigo de Godoy joins a crew that is sailing to the New World in order to find the most epic gift for his intended, a women he lusts over, but doesn't particularly love.  Through this journey he meets his true love, after many love affairs along the way.  Diego meets Ignacia in Mexico, during the fall of Montezuma, and it is during this time that he is introduced to the Mexican hot chocolate. Unbeknownst to Diego, the chocolate has magic whipped into it, where he would live forever! It is at this point that the book loses its charm for me.  We go from Mexico, France, America, Vienna, England...all pursing the chocolate inventions. The author also has Diego present for the invention of the Hershey's kiss.

Even though the story line was somewhat ridiculous, the food scenes were plentiful and beautifully written. We experience fruit, the bounty of the Mexican markets, many savory dishes and menus, and many desserts featuring, of course, chocolate. What really stayed with me was the way Mexican hot chocolate is made.  I decided I was going to look carefully at the traditional way that hot chocolate is made and served in Mexico.  In all, I would give this book a 3/5 stars.

The hot chocolate in the book traces its history to the Maya and Aztecs. The typical ingredients are cocoa beans, cinnamon and chiles.  I found the traditional tablets online and I used those to make my drink.  Traditional the cocoa beans were ground up, spices added and vanilla, but didn't include sugar.  The texture is grainy and thick and the taste is bitter compared to the sweet version I drink.  I did love the differences and I know that I would love in under certain situations.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

1 tablet
4 c milk

Heat the milk in a sauce pan.  Break up the tablet and place into hot milk.  Once the chocolate is melted, then whip the milk and chocolate mixture for several minutes with a molinillo.  The molinillo is a special type of whisk that will make the chocolate creamy and delicious.  To use it, you roll the molinillo between your two hands to create a spinning effect.  It's harder than it looks!

If you like to cook and read, join us at Cook the Books Club!  The next few books are chosen so you can get a running start!  Thank you to our hostess, Simona, from briciole.

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