Chocolate Caliente

Chocolate HorizontalBrrrr…Old Man Winter made an early appearance. The temperature plunged into the teens over the weekend, and the ground is blanketed with 2-3 inches of snow. This put me in the mood for some hot chocolate.

Boxes of Chocolate

The two most popular brands of Mexican drinking chocolate that I have seen around here are Nestlé’s Abuelita and Chocolate Ibarra. Both brands of chocolate are usually sold in a hexagonal box like the ones pictures above, and there are six tablets per box. This cold weather got me thinking that it might  be interesting to do a side-by-side comparison of these two drinking chocolates to see if there was any difference in flavor.

Tablets of Chocolate

I made a single serving of each brand of hot chocolate by using a quarter of the chocolate tablet. I chopped the chocolate using a long straight-edge knife. I decided to use 2% milk because I think it lends a better texture to the final product.

Blue Chocolate Vertical

Here are my results: The Abuelita chocolate took a slightly longer time to melt. In addition it did not blend together as nicely with the milk even when stirred for a length of time. On the same note, it tended to separate more easily from the milk. It did have a spicier, semi-sweet chocolate flavor.

Green Chocolate Vertical

The Ibarra chocolate was smoother, nuttier, and closer to a milk chocolate. The chocolate blended well with the milk and did not separate when left to sit for a while. It seemed creamier, and the flavor definitely was not as harsh.

Both Chocolates Vertical

Although the differences in texture and flavor were very slight, I enjoyed the Ibarra chocolate overall. Stay warm and have a happy hot chocolate season!

Chocolate Caliente

Click here for printable recipe.  

Hot chocolate (Makes 1 cup = single serving)

¼ tablet Mexican chocolate (Ibarra o Abuelita)

1 cup 2% milk

→Pour milk into a small saucepan. Place chocolate tablet in milk. Using a wooden spoon, stir mixture over medium-low heat until the chocolate begins to dissolve. You can use the spoon to break the chocolate up. Make sure the chocolate dissolves completely.

→If you would like the hot chocolate to be frothy, use a molinillo (pictured above) to create a layer of foam. Simply spin the molinillo back and forth between the palms of your hands.

→Serve warm.

NOTES:

  • I used a sharp, flat-blade knife to chop my chocolate. You can chop the chocolate into smaller pieces if you would like, but it will still melt if left whole.
  • I did a test between Ibarra and Abuelita chocolate, and I found Ibarra to be smoother and less likely to separate from the milk.
  • I like using 2% rather than whole milk because the latter tends to make the drink too thick and rich.
  • You can find molinillos at Mexican grocery stores or online at www.mexgrocer.com.
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