Velvety smooth, dark and hot… Spicy hot. That’s how I like my hot chocolate and that’s how it was delivered in San Cristobal, Mexico. I spent seven days in this charming little colonial town exploring, touring, shopping and most of my adventure packed days ended with making a beeline to my two favorite spots in town, Kakaw Natura and the Kakaw Museum of Chocolate. Yes, San Cristobal has a museum dedicated to chocolate, and what fine chocolate it is.
I was surprised by this discovery. You see, I was burnt once before with a terrible chocolate experience in Mexico. I bought tons (almost!) of the stuff at the duty free shop in Mexico City, assuming that the land of the Maya would have wonderful chocolate, and I figured the duty free would have the best of the lot.
I arrived home, gave my kids and hubby the chocolate, saving some for myself of course, and we had a tasting party. The chocolate was waxy and tasteless, my first and only piece sat on my tongue refusing to melt. The cold, dank taste was an insult to the mighty cocoa bean. Our tasting party was a bust; no one was interested in any of this awful stuff. We packed up the chocolate, I decided it might be ok to use as baking chocolate, and it sits in my kitchen cupboard still, waiting for the day I’m desperate enough to use it.
Never again would I buy chocolate in Mexico I had decided, but then a couple months later, and on my very first day in San Cristobal, I met up with Zane, a writer of Mexican tour guides. He parted with an interesting nugget of Mexico information. He said that this little city had what he considered the best hot chocolate in Meso-America. Humph, I thought to myself, how good can that be? I dismissed his look of pure bliss while describing this frothy, creamy chocolate concoction, made by a tiny little chocolateria called Kakaw Natura. He was wrong. Chocolate in Mexico was to be avoided and avoid it I did until a friend of mine appeared a couple of days later with a carry out cup of hot chocolate from Kakaw Natura. She offered a sip, I took a sip. It was good.
One sip wasn’t enough, the next day I was on a mission – I had to find this chocolateria, I wanted an entire cup of hot chocolate all to myself. I found it tucked away in a quiet corner directly across from the old market (Mercado Jose Castillo Tielemans), and ordered something. I wasn’t really sure what I had ordered since my entire Spanish vocabulary pretty much consists of hola and mucho gracious, but with some talented figure pointing at the menu and much nodding of heads, my order was placed. The hot chocolate arrived, not too sweet, dark, rich, and spicy, a chocolate drink worthy of sipping slowly. I think Zane was right; this may be the best hot chocolate in Meso-America.
San Cristobal has not one but two spots to indulge your craving for excellent chocolate. I also discovered Kakaw: Museo del Cacao & Chocolateria Cultural, which luckily for me was about a block away from my hotel, making it easy for me to drop in often. This shop serves drinking chocolate in a traditional (and large) Mayan dish, or you can order a tasting dish which comes with four small cups of traditional Meso-American flavors such as vanilla, amaretto, chayote, corn, peanut and achiote. I also highly recommend their chocolate, in fact – I should have bought more. Its rich, soft consistency, with the just the right amount of sweet was a hit back at home, every bit of it had disappeared within days. Mexico does have wonderful chocolate; you just have to know where to find it.
Just the Facts:
Pedro Moreno 2A Centro Historico-San Cristobal
GirlsGetaway recommended spot for drinking chocolate, with its super friendly staff, and location right next to the Mercado Jose Castillo Tielemans Food and Crafts Market, this place is a great spot to spend an afternoon people watching. Be sure to buy a bag of Drinking Chocolate Mix to take home.
Kakaw: Museo del Cacao & Chocolateria Cultural
1ero de Marzo No.16. Centro Historico, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México, Tel:+52 01 (967) 6754533
GirlsGetaway recommended spot for buying chocolates in San Cristobal. The museum also sells some great coffee and chocolate inspired jewelry. I bought a pair of coffee bean earrings, too cute!
A special thank you to the Mexican Tourism Bureau for inviting me on a girl’s getaway and adventure tweetup in San Cristobal, Mexico! For updates on the fun happenings in Mexico please follow the hashtag #wevisitmexico on twitter.