Mexican chocolate in Rochester
If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that the concept is fluid. I write about the business, Laughing Gull Chocolates, the history of chocolate and the culture around chocolate. More recently, I’ve written about running a business alongside my now toddler, my business partners and their toddlers. This blogpost will ultimately promote an upcoming event, our Cinco de Mayo First Friday event. Before inviting you all to this May’s First Friday, I wanted to provide some context to Cinco de Mayo, and how we are connecting it to chocolate. During this event, we will have live music, traditional Mexican snacks, beer samples and new (Mexican-inspired) truffle flavor premiers, like Horchata and Margarita. I hope we will see you here to celebrate all that chocolate and Mexico have offered us!
The story of chocolate was born in the Amazon, and developed and matured in Mesoamerica. Our interdependence (or maybe it’s just my dependence?) on chocolate exists today because of the way that the ancient Maya, Mixtec and Aztec mythology intertwined with cacao. While most people in Mexico today are raised Catholic, the backdrop is a supernatural world of gods and goddesses who required chocolate. Cacao was, in fact, necessary for human perpetuity; cacao required the protection of a fertility goddess, and long before, in its creation story, the Popol Vuh suggests that cacao was an ingredient to create humankind. I don’t know about other people, but I am confident that cacao permeates my being.
Chocolate was an integral part of everyday and spiritual life for thousands of years before it became a global commodity. Long before Europeans figured out how to chemically alter cacao, separate and reintegrate the cocoa butter, mix it with dairy to create the silky, smooth milk chocolate we are now accustomed to, the women of Mesoamerica prepared chocolate as a bittersweet beverage for their male counterparts to drink. They consumed it in sacrificial ceremonies, in religious ceremonies, and prior to battles. In what is now Mexico, chocolate literally and figuratively helped shaped people.
In our globalized world, Mexico has maintained much of its rich culture, and we are so lucky to have reaped some of the benefits of ancient and modern day Mexico. Ancient Mexican cultures shared rubber and latex with us, potatoes and corn, astronomy and more. We celebrate these contributions, and the more modern day contributions, next week. Cinco de mayo, a Mexican holiday that honors an 1862 military victory over French forces, has come to be a celebration of pride in Mexican heritage. In the U.S., the holiday commemorates a lot of that rich culture, and this Friday, we are celebrating with food and chocolate.
Celebrate with us, Friday, May 3
Mexico’s land is vast and rich and filled with cacao groves. There are 37,000 producers that grow cacao in Mexico, and to this day, chocolate is a staple in everyday menus throughout the country. This Friday, in addition to live music, and snacks and chocolate samples, we will premier some exciting new chocolate products: new Mexican-style stone-ground chocolate bars from ChocoSol in Toronto, a margarita and horchata chocolate truffle, and a brand new one-of-a-kind truffle made from “jaguar” chocolate, created with the rare albino chocolate bean grown in Mexico. What is your favorite Mexican treat or tradition?