Introduction: How to Eat Mexican Chocolate and Fear the Swiss

Picture of How to Eat Mexican Chocolate and Fear the Swiss

This stuff is really good. Ibarra brand "sweet chocolate" containing "cacao nibs" is intended for making hot cocoa, but I've never tried it that way. I just smack it on something solid to break it into pie shaped wedges and eat it. If you prefer to drink it, here's how to do that.

Nestle, a Swiss company, makes a competing product called "Abuelita" that's not nearly as good. There are good reasons why Mexicans make such better chocolate than the Swiss.
Cacao, the tree that produces chocolate, doesn't grow in Switzerland. It grows here in the New World, where it was cultivated to perfection by eons of careful Central and South Americans. Like Corn, Potatoes, and almost everything else we now eat, it was created here and was unknown in the Old World.
Theobromine, a psychoactive component of chocolate, is a latinization of the Aztec word for chocolate, "food of the gods". Chocolate was the sacrament of their religion.

By contrast the Swiss cultivate and worship grass. Do not step on a Swiss person's lawn unless you are a cow. That's not what it's for. As a child in Bern Switzerland I once stepped on some. I heard an unearthly scream as a woman in an embroidered costume came charging at me with some sort of club in her hand.
I'm not sure if it was a rolling pin, it's been a long time and I was totally panicked. I've read since that rolling pins are rarely used as weapons, so it was probably something else, a trivet or maybe a rosette iron.
This was before Swiss women were given the right to vote so it wouldn't have been a voting sword. They vote by holding swords aloft, a medeival custom.

My babysitter was also panicked and fled with me. She was an American woman named Gay, who was unable to live in English speaking countries. The word "gay" had just started to mean "homosexual" and homophobia was prevalent.
We ran for miles through that impeccable gingerbread town with rasping lungs, the screaming harpy hot on our heels... I'm sorry. This really happened and the crazy details are only because they are true. Back to the chocolate.

Step 1: Smack It and Crack It

Picture of Smack It and Crack It

Then eat it and feel good. It's amazingly cheap. At Berkeley Bowl it's $2.50 for more than a pound.
My friends who are chocolate connosieurs especially like it.

I didn't know I had friends like this until I started pushing the "brown brick".
One such pal was practically weeping and thanking me for the best thing I'd ever done for him. He then opened a special cupboard and revealed his supply of raw and dried cacao and variously processed chocolates arranged by nation of origin and other traits.
Apparently he was blessed with a profound appreciation for the stuff and vast resources. An interesting guy. He'd convinced himself and some elite backers that he could produce an artificial intelligence. He cloistered himself in his Manhattan apartment with computers and a grand piano. He eliminated all other distractions from his life so he could proceed. The apartment happened to be the one from the movie "ghostbusters". Quite a nice place. My friend's situation was more like the movie "Pi" but more upscale. Sorry. Another digression.
The point is that this stuff is really good, and the more refined your taste the more you'll appreciate it.


benthekahn (author)2008-05-27

I eat that exact stuff sometimes. I usually eat in a spiral pattern until I reach the center.

Sounds dizzying.

nordmann (author)2007-03-13

I think you mean "Hellenization"--not "Latinization". Theobromine is based on Greek root words. Is everything we eat from the New World? Hmm... I didn't know the Aztecs had wheat. Or cheese. Or--the most important of them all--beer. Still, I'm so addicted to Ancho chiles, that I don't think I'd miss it much if the old world foods dissappeared. A good chile sauce with corn tortillas and some Mezcal with sangrita is all I need. Oops--Mezcal would be impossible, too, since distillation was brought in from Europe!

El mezcal existe desde tiempos prehispánicos, incluso antes que el pulque.

mansionwb (author)nordmann2012-07-22

Actually, there was beer in America. I think the best known was a beer of corn called "chicha". They had no wheat, but they had corn. The distillation already existed in America, although different, It existed. Mezcal is used before the arrival of the first Europeans. Not everything has come from America, yeah, but I think America has given more to the world than whatever he has received. Perhaps one should not compare. We are human and share the world.

tesseliot (author)2011-07-08

I love the Ibarra chocolate, and make it hot in the Fall and Winter. It always comes out for Day of the Dead. The really nice way to make it though, is with the Mexican hand beater (I forget it's name)--it's a round carved dowel that you roll between your hands, while the knobby part stays in the milk (or whatever liquid) and mixes it all up. That sugar takes some serious mixing to dissolve but it brings out the almond taste when you take your time. The main thing is you aren't tasting chocolate that has been "dutched" with a potassium wash which makes it darker, but neutralizes the acidity. I like both, but the aroma of unprocessed cocoa is divine. Ibarra with all it's almondy goodness tastes unique. I do want to try it in almond milk one day!

Nachoman (author)tesseliot2011-11-30

The Mexican hand beater is called a molinillo. It serves a three-fold purpose: it aerates the liquid, bringing up the foam; it helps to dissolve the chocolate (it is the cacao what doesn't dissolve easily, BTW); if the liquid is milk, it keeps it from boiling over.
If you want variety, try doing the choc with water and experiment with tea-making herbs and sweet spices, then serve with a dash of cream milk. I personally like it with lemongrass and vanilla.

Punktastic (author)2011-01-30

Ummm :)) oh :)))) I'll stop now. "the tree that produces chocolate" really? Really, really, really? That tree produces chocolate you say? :D hahaha that line was funny. Nice story by the way. :)

Cristian Lavaque (author)2006-07-30

I agree Ibarra is better than Abuelita, although neither of them is as good as what it used to be a long time ago, or so my mexican wife tells me. Recently, a group of merchants from Oaxaca sold hand-made stuff in this town, Taxco, and I was lucky to find chocolate. It was even better than Ibarra's, I still have some left. :) Anyway, I tend to prefer Aguila's, which I used to buy in Argentina. From a quick search I found that Trade Fair in NY has some of it, in case you wanna try it. Had a lot of fun reading your tutorial. Thanks!

you have to taste the chocolate from Michoacán, México it's very delicious ;)

Gebcas (author)Cristian Lavaque2008-01-12

Man you're wrong Taxco is located in Guerrero not in Oaxaca and the thing that you just have there isn't handmade is just "abuelita" without the container. If you want to try a real beverage made with chocolate(like the one Moctezuma used to drink) try the "pozol" it's made in the mexican state of Chiapas greeting from Mexico City aka "Tenochtitlan"

Cristian Lavaque (author)Gebcas2008-01-15

I didn't say Taxco is in Oaxaca, I said that someone from Oaxaca was selling it in Taxco. I live in Taxco and know where it is. Thanks for the tip on pozol, I'll ask an amber-merchant friend from Chiapas that comes to town now and then, to bring some!

Gebcas (author)Cristian Lavaque2008-01-15

Yeah you should try the pozol it's made with cocoa beans and "masa" (you live in Taxco so you must know it) then it's mixed with sugar and then cooled with ice it's quite tasty so I hope you like it or you would like to try the "champurrado" it's a kind of "atole" made with chocolate too. So I hope you can try them. Ok see you Greetings from Mexico City aka Tenochtitlan UNAM

stasterisk (author)Gebcas2008-09-29

WOW!! Champurrado sounds DELICIOUS!! Can you post an instructable on how to make it?

rosewood513 (author)2010-12-11

This is the best chocolate, I loe the grainy sugary taste. I use it both ways eat and or drink. The rinkbecomes smooth because it melts when cooked in milk.
I use soy milk and it tastes great.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-08-06

have you ever tried the recipe for hot chocolate that is on the box? I am curious about how it might taste and if the finished product was grainie or smooth.

laxap (author)2009-07-26

Can you judge chocolate (and people BTW) based on a limited/single experience? Nestle should not be the reference. They make industrial products. Try Lindt. If you never tried pralines made by hand by some of the few good swiss local confectioners, then you ***don't now what chocolate is***.

casatortugas (author)2009-07-21

you can also take a knife and place it above the "cuts" on the chocolate and then use a hammer, sorry we have use that method at home always, my granny taught me, and yes I´m mexican too. try placing it also inside bread and then putting it on the stove or oven, it melts and is really tasty.

schimmi (author)2008-12-04

i love the movie pi. quite the mindfuck. but i did like requiem for a dream more, but anything by darren aronafsky is wonderful. I'll have to look for some of that ibarra. it's also silly that there's a chocolate called little grandmother

kg1 (author)2008-09-26

Mmmmmmm I love me some Ibarra or Abuelita.I grew up on it, my grandmum and mum never bought crappy Nesquik. I eat the triangles plain too myself. I like using the bricks to make champurrado too.

tillt (author)2008-09-26

OK look I'm swiss I've never even seen that drinking chocolate here so yeah they fabricate it somewhere else. and hey we don't have chocolate trees here we get the chocolate beans from south American countries you have to eat lidt chocolate which is way finer than some mexican chocolate because of the special way to produce it ;-) and if you don't like milk chocolate get yourself some crazy good 73% cocoa black chocolate or even higher we don't worship grass? idk but you say you didn't make up that story but this is a little monotype :-P i hope you don't think we all have cows on our balconies and only eat our own cheese anyway funny Instructable

thebluemartyr (author)2007-10-02

i ate a thing of ibarra without milk once, it made me throw up.

rplatter (author)2007-06-19

This is really good in milk. Make sure you have a wisk that will fit your mug. Just spin the wisk back and forth between your hands. (Sort of like you are trying to start a fire with a stick) It froths and mixes the chocolate and really brings out the flavors. I use about a third of a disk for one of the large coffee mugs/soup bowls. One taste and you're addicted.

andresm (author)2006-09-30

plez dont eat it that way.... its actually better as hot chocolate (what its intended for) ok?. just put a cup of milk in a pan or whatever and 2 little bricks then with a mixer or whatever. then just pour it.... sorry if u dont understand me im mexican so i speak spanish... adios!

icanryme2002 (author)andresm2006-12-10

brainiac (logo)

thingygoboom (author)andresm2006-11-18

you speak amazingly well for a mexican srry i kno a lot of mexicans who wouldnt be able to understand what the guy said

Crash2108 (author)2006-08-31

The thing is that all Mexico did with chocolate was make a watered down drink with it (I've tried it and almost avoided vomiting). The Swiss invented milk chocolate. I may be wrong, though.

Scurl! (author)2006-07-22

awesome, i've had a pack of the nestle crap in my cupboard for over a year, and i NEVER have milk so i haven't done anything with it...i'm going to go and get it and try it now, keeping in mind it's not nearly as good.... hmm....gritty....kinda coffee-esque flavor....melts nicely....tastes good....i approve. now i have to track down the good kind....and put the rest of this chunk in some water or something...

cocainomano (author)2006-07-19

Im from mexico and that's a "bitter" chocolate, we use it to make chocolate with milk or water (preffer milk).. and european chocolate it's sweet, that's the difference... but I agree , Mexican Chocolate it's even better.

fishcatcher (author)cocainomano2006-07-20

mexicane choclat is dirty

keng (author)2006-07-20

"My friend's situation was more like the movie "Pi" but more upscale." Goaaahhhh!!! i hope you took away his power tools!!!

Ingerson (author)2006-07-20

Fantastic write-up for a silly instructable!

grass root (author)2006-07-19

I like playing with the second and third pictures. Just keep clicking back and forth and it's animated!

Williz (author)2006-07-19

Meh it's a alright Instuctable just becuase of the story :P. The same happened to me a lil while back when I went on a school trip to SwissLand...Dang crazy people...

cookiedough (author)2006-07-19

It always bothered me that the Italians are known for tomatoes, the swiss for chocolate, the Irish for potatoes and most of asia for spicy peppers. Before big boats, the rest of the world much have survived on meat, leaves and sour bread. Big thanks to China for the peach, though.

radiorental (author)2006-07-19

Ok, I get the bit where you break it. But then how do I get it in my mouth? more details please!

radiorental (author)radiorental2006-07-19

maybe you could laser etch instructions on it, like so..

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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