Taking Chocolate Back to Its Mexican Roots

ABC/Univision

He calls the seed of his chocolate revolution "kakaw" — an ancient Mesoamerican word — and he's spearheading a movement to take chocolate back to its Mexican roots.

Chef and Chocolatier José Ramón Castillo, now a hiton Mexican TV, is a Willy Wonka of sorts. He owns his own chocolate factory and an indulgent chocolate store in Mexico City.

The ancient Maya and Aztecs serve as his inspiration. They pioneered cacao cultivation, mainly consuming it as a hot drink mixed with water. Chocolate was so valued in their culture, that cacao beans were "currency." It was only after the Spanish came to Mesoamerica that chocolate was exported to Europe.

What's so sweet about Chef Castillo? He only uses homegrown Mexican cacao. He refuses to add cream, butter, or sugar to his "bonbons" and he only uses water and local ingredients to give them an indigenous flair.

For many, José Ramón Castillo has become a new model of Mexican nationalist gastronomy by spreading the delights of chocolate while striving to protect the endangered indigenous crop. The Mexican cacao he holds dear is under threat from an invasive disease. Can he save Mexico's ancient chocolate tradition — and perhaps make chocolate in Mexico what cheese is to France?

Don't miss out on any of Fusion's highlights -- get Fusion today.
Alt

Mexico is a country of contradictions, a mix of old and new. Here's how it is being reshaped by this more progressive, yet violent, era.

comments powered by Disqus

Drug War

Weed Foodies: BYOC (Bring Your Own Cannabis Parties)

As the sun sets behind the mountains, you ease into your slippers and savor the amuse-bouche - a handcrafted dark chocolate truffle topped with Himalayan sea salt and enriched by 20 mgs of THC.” “Edible Events Co. was created with one goal in mind, to maximize your cannabis experience and stimulate your heightened awareness of taste, smell & sight,” wrote West on her website.