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How Mexico's cinnamon-spiked hot chocolate mirrors the country's history

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bean-to-bar chocolate supplier Alerlit talks to FoodNavigator-LATAM about the origins of Mexican-style hot chocolate, the country's 'floral' cocoa flavor and its production process.

Mexican cocoa supplier, processor and chocolate manufacturer Alerlit was founded 30 years ago by Jose Luis Alarcon.

Today, the business is run by Alarcon's daughter and current owner Itzuri Alarcon. 

“We buy the cocoa direct from farmers in Tabasco and Chiapas, and we process everything," ​Itzuri Alarcon told FoodNavigator-LATAM. "We roast it, we take off the shell, we mill the cocoa and we make cocoa liquor, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter.”

Alerlit has a manufacturing capacity of 100 tons per month but currently operates at around 60 tons.

The company sells most of its products in its native Mexico but it also exports its hot chocolate to the US, Germany, France, Switzerland, South Africa and exports cocoa derivatives to Cuba.

The bulk of Alerlit's business comes from selling these B2B cocoa ingredients, however, it also makes its own consumer-facing hot chocolate range.

“We take the cocoa liquor and add sugar and cinnamon. This is the Mexican-style recipe to produce hot chocolate.”

According to Alarcon, this traditional recipe can be traced back to Mexico’s ancient civilizations, such as the Aztecs and Mayans, who blended cocoa beans with vanilla to make an energizing drink.

When the Spanish invaders took cocoa back to Europe, they added sugar and, because they could not find vanilla in Europe, replaced it with cinnamon.

“We are a mix of traditions from Spain and from here​,” Alarcon said.

According to Alarcon, Mexican cocoa has floral notes, which appeals to high-end chocolatiers. 

WATCH THE VIDEO TO FIND OUT MORE.

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