The Aztecs, Incas and Mayans were the first civilizations to make chocolate rather staggeringly around 600AD - which is now considered a guilty pleasure the world over! What first started as a bitter beverage mixed with alcohol and spices bears no resemblance to the melt in the mouth bars we are so accustomed to today.
Believe it or not, the chocolate trade is a £52 billion a year industry which is set to continue increasing as our passion for it is unwavering. Hence the inspired creation of the renowned ‘World Chocolate Day' on 7 July 2016.
So, in honour of all things chocolate, we at Journey Latin America want to share some of South America’s most famed chocolate dishes.
1. Brigadeiroa - Brazil
This traditional Brazil treat can be found at all special occasions, from a casual house gathering through to weddings. The recipe consists of only three ingredients – condensed milk, butter and good quality cocoa - making it an easy and affordable delicacy to share with family and friends.
“Seeing a brigadeiro means it's time to party!” Barbara Zanotelli Rodrigues
, Press and Marketing Assistant
2. Mole Poblano - Mexico
Mexico’s most popular sauce is a thick, rich and spicy chocolate sauce to be eaten with meat. The recipe can be tweaked to suit your taste buds or the accompanying dish. We can’t stress enough, when in Mexico, make sure to try out some authentic ‘mole poblano’.
“Surprisingly delicious!” Rafe Stone
, Product Manager
3. Chocolate Alfajores - South America
Popular in many South American countries, it’s not difficult to understand why, alfajores are chocolate covered sandwiched cakes (texture varies according to country) with an inside layer of dulce de leche. This is no ordinary cake, it will tick all the right boxes! When you come across them on your travels, make sure to bring them back for your loved ones!
“I like to picture a decadent wagon wheel with a scrumptious South American twist! You won’t be able to resist” Abigail St Quinton, Marketing and Press Executive.
4. Hot Chocolate - Mexico
Hot chocolate, although not an obvious Latin American drink, is a staple during the winter in Mexico. It is a worldwide favourite loved by all ages across the globe but, in true Mexican style, the Mexicans like to add some flavours. They spice it up with vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon and sometimes even chilli powder. A festive season delight!
“The different spices make it a perfect, warming, winter treat even for adults” Alexandra Walker
, Travel Consultant, Group Tours
5. Crema Chocolate - Ecuador
Savoury or sweet, crema chocolate can be found infused with chilli, sea salt or olive oil for those who are brave enough to have a go. For the less brave the sweet chocolate cream is rich and smooth, and acts as a perfect alternative to icing for topping cakes or cupcakes.
“Ecuador’s very own Marmite, love it or hate it!” Mary Anne Nelson
, Press and Marketing Executive
6. Churros and Chocolate Sauce – Argentina
A classic Argentinean street food treat has become adored in many European and Latin American countries, with different versions of the chocolate sauces for a delicious dunk. A great and simple treat for children’s party set to please all.
“I love to make churros when the whole family is around as it puts a smile on everyone’s face.” Jenny Powles
, Head of Press and Marketing
One to keep an eye out for:
Solbeso is a new South American Spirit made from the pulpy fruit surrounding cacao beans. Although it is not commonly found, make sure to sample it if you can, as its unique blend, a combination of tequila, pisco and rum. That is set to warm up your cocktail!