The Aztecs called their brew of chocolate ‘tchocolatl’ or ‘xocolatl’. Another name that caught the fancy was champurrado, which is popular even today as part of the Mexican breakfast.

The drink was not sweet or smooth (as we know it now), but rather greasy and bitter due to the rudimentary method of processing, with the cocoa shells and husk being retained.

Brewing Bubbles
The Aztecs loved their brew frothy. To
create the froth, which was dear and
delicious to them, they poured chocolate
from one pot to the other, almost from a
height of a man’s head, while the drink emptied
into the pot kept on the ground.
Much later, the Aztecs invented a wooden
stick with small paddles at one end. Called
molinillo by the Spanish, the paddled side
was put inside the pot holding the drink,
the other side was held between the
two palms and the drink was churned to
spawn a frothy brew.

In the year 1631, Andalusian physician Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma published a chocolate recipe in his book. This was the first published account of making a cocoa drink.

‘Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chilies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some colour. And there you have the king of chocolates.’
– by Don Antonio


The Now - Chic Champurrado

Masa harina (maize flour)
1/4 cup
Sweetened Mexican chocolate
1 (3-ounce) tablet
3 cups
3 cups

• Put the masa harina and water in a medium pan.
• Stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.
• In another pan, bring milk to a boil.
• Grate the chocolate into the pan containing milk, and cook 10 minutes till the chocolate dissolves.
• Pour the chocolate into the masa harina mixture, stirring continuously.
• Beat well using a molinillo until the blend turns frothy.
• Serve hot.