Oaxaca is an adorable city in Mexico, where you'll get excellent chocolate everywhere, even the kind that is used in savoury dishes.
Chocolate and cocoa are sold in all quantities, shapes and sizes, at the markets, on the street or in shops. It's astonishing! I will speak about the traditional chocolate later on, but first let's see the more unusual kinds.
One of them is the beverage called tejate [te'xate], which remains from the times before the Spanish conquest. At first sight, it looks very bizarre because of its consistency and non-homogenous nature. It doesn't help that the vendors start to mix it by hand in a clay pot already in the early morning hours. But the result is a very tasty, refreshing drink. Its main ingredients are cocoa and toasted maize flour, and of course the spices, like the pits of the mamey fruit. Ask for a nice cup, which you'll have to return, otherwise it's served in a plastic cup.
That's the mamey:
And this is how mixing looks like:
The city is a very friendly place, maybe because locals consume chocolate and coffee in huge quantities, as both are grown locally.
This is also the city, a random Friday night, when the mariachis met their master in a woman passing by:
At the market, you'll find cocoa in every possible form: as fresh fruit, or cocoa beans before fermentation, after fermentation, roasted, ground... And there's the mole, the very spicy, very complex Mexican sauce, with deep flavours. It is served with starters and main dishes all over the country and one of its main ingredients is chocolate. Oaxaca is particularly famous for its mole, because here they have 7 different varieties, not only one. They are obviously served everywhere in the city, as home made or as ready made version.
But the most traditional way to consume chocolate is to drink it.
Mostly they like it hot:
Or sometimes iced:
Local coffee with local chocolate cake:
These are all incredibly tasty but the specialty chocolate shops had the biggest effect on me. The reason is that they make fresh chocolate here, and during the process, lots of heat is produced, so the smell is just everywhere. And there are tons of shops like that, often one next to the other.
I couldn't resist stocking up on moles and a huge amount of handmade chocolate, which I took sugar free. I only asked to grind the cocoa nibs with some cinnamon and almonds.
And here's the real deal, this is how the process looks like. Sad that I cannot transmit the intense aroma of chocolate:
More pictures from my Mexican adventures are on my Instagram account.