Many people think of chocolate truffles, candy bars and dessert pops as treats that are best reserved for days, such as Valentine's Day or Easter. However, one holiday worth celebrating with this delectable concoction is Cinco de Mayo. This event, which was just celebrated around the world, was created in honor of Mexico and its culture, and the Mexican people played a large role in the early popularity of chocolate.
The History of Cinco de Mayo
History.com reports that Cinco de Mayo was created to recognize the Battle of Puebla, which took place in 1861. Approximately 2,000 Mexican soldiers were rounded up by President Benito Juarez and led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza against more than 6,000 French soldiers
French General Charles Latrille de Lorencez intended to take over the Puebla de Los Angeles with his soldiers, but fell to the Mexicans despite the odds being in his favor. Today, the victory is celebrated by Mexicans and people across North America alike on May 5.
The Beginnings of Chocolate in Mexico
Before there was chocolate bark, candy bars and delectable Easter bunnies, this sweet concoction became popular in Mexico. MexConnect.com reports that the Mexicans began widely incorporating chocolate into daily life as a beverage as early as the 16th century. Hernán Cortés and the Spanish conquistadores were thought to have consumed chocolate with Moctezuma around 1519.
Together, they drank a beverage composed of hot water and cacao beans, which became known as Xocóatl. This drink was thought to bring powers to those who consumed it, and many people believed that it had the ability to heal. For this reason, chocolate was a delicacy reserved for the wealthy through its early history in Mexico. The Aztecs valued cacao so much that they occasionally used it as a form of currency.
Chocolate has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Mexico. As a staple in the country's cuisine, Mexican chocolate was developed and has come to be known as its own variety today. Food Network reports that this type of chocolate can be defined as a concoction flavored with vanilla, spices, cinnamon and almonds. The texture of Mexican chocolate is also grainier than traditional milk chocolate.
At home, Mexican chocolate can be created with one ounce of semi-sweet chocolate, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and one drop of almond extract.
GourmetSlueth.com, a food and cooking resource site, states that some of the most common dishes that incorporate Mexican chocolate include mole and a wide range of hot drinks.