In Search of the Guatemalan Sweet Tooth (with poll)

Making cinnamon/chocolate bars for hot cocoa. Photos courtesy of Audrey & Dan from Uncornered Market

Did you know there’s a town in Guatemala called El Chocolate? It’s true.

It’s a sign of the times. Guatemalans love, love, love chocolate.

They grow it. They drink it. But for some reason, they just don’t eat a lot of it.

In fact, they drink chocolate way more than they eat the stuff.

I have first-hand reports from my pen-pal Audrey (of Uncornered Market), that they had a surprisingly difficult time finding a regular bar of chocolate to eat during their stay in Guatemala. Amazing.

The only bars they could find were dry and crumbly – meant for making hot cocoa. They even participated in a chocolate bar making class (pictured above), in which the learned how to press and decorate the bars, but – again – they were only meant for drink making.

Sounds at once delicious and unusual – which is why I’ll be posting a recipe for Guatemalan hot cocoa in a few days.

It’ll be rich. It’ll be frothy. It’ll be everything you ever dreamed hot cocoa could be. With cinnamon.

Stay tuned.

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  1. I go fill up my car tank in Switzerland, and I always seize the occasion to buy some really good chocolate that we savour at the end of lunch – one or two squares at a time. In times of stress, more of it as a snack at 4 o’clock, with crusty bread.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I used to love to eat squares of chocolate with pieces of baguette when I was in France. I forgot all about that :)

  2. Christine says:

    Homemade candies from Chatham Candy Manor ( in Chatham, MA. I used to work there in high school/college summers (my Mom and brother still do).

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I’ve been there! How cool :) I was born on the cape and then went back there a lot for vacations and so forth. Mmm.

  3. Jessica Bennett says:

    I’m not a big fan of chocolate, but I like it when it’s paired with another flavour and it’s not overwhelming (so no rich ganache for me). I like to drink my chocolate too, but my drink of choice is a chocolate martini (I don’t indulge too often though).

  4. no matter which way, as long as it’s chocolate :) I might have to move to El Chocolate, haha

  5. MMM MMMM chocolate…… What was your question again? I got distracted by the thought of chocolate. :)

  6. Collette Lemons says:

    My favorite way to have chocolate is the “Cherry Chocolate Cheese Cake” at Louie’s in Jenks. It is a rich and wonderful chocolate cheese cake with a very light and lovely taste of cherry in it. Not over whelming but a delicious blend that no matter how full you are your hips scream – we don’t care we want more….. Now I am craving it again, lol.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I love cherries and chocolate – such a nice combination. The cheesecake sounds impossible to resist. Kryptonite.

  7. I crave chocolate daily. I think it’s the most amazing substance. The richer and denser, the better.
    Incidently, there’s a local factory in Mass called Taza chocolate. It makes organic, hand ground Mexican chocolate. It’s definitly grainier, but really good once you know what to expect from the texture. We should go if come here to visit :)

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Oh, sounds amazing. I’d love to check it out – great idea! I’m so overdue for a trip up north. It’s been over a year!

  8. Celeste Childress says:

    I read somewhere that a balanced diet is chocolate in both hands.

  9. Katherine says:

    Unfortunately, I have a food sensitivity to chocolate.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Oh, that’s too bad. White chocolate is supposed to be okay (it’s not technically chocolate, I think). Do you eat that?

  10. Brian S. says:

    Thinking ahead to Guinea. I don’t know where to post this. The two main peoples of Guinea are among the most glorious in Africa. The Malinke are the heirs to the grand Mali Empire which, in 1300, was so rich and famous that people in Europe had heard of it. The Fulani are a sedentary branch of a tribe which is mostly nomadic. In 1735 they united to form a country in what’s now eastern Guinea. That country had a written constitution. In 1735!!! 50 years before the U.S.

    I loved Guinea. The people were among the kindest I’ve met. Unfortunately most of my week-long visit was spent in prison. I entered without a visa. They never gave visas. In those days, Guinea was one of the most isolated countries in the world, cut off from everyone except Russia and North Korea. It was called the “People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea” Instead of saying Allo when they answered the telephone, people said “Ready for Revolution”. Besides standing up to de Gaulle, Seko Toure’s government had its good side. Music, both tradition kora sonatas and more modern music with electric guitars was encouraged, and some of Africa’s best music was issued by the government record company, Syliphone.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Fascinating – my mind can’t quite wrap around the phone greeting… Thanks for sharing, Brian. I’ll be writing about Guinea and Guinea Bissau together (I have to make some time for vacation this summer). Have you been to Guinea-Bissau as well?

  11. Do you remember the opening to Willy Wonka, with all the liquid chocolate being poured and spreading and rippling? Yumm! I wonder if they have Oompa Loompas in El Chocolate?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Oompa Loompas scare me a little… actually, the whole factory terrified me. Spoiler alert: especially that kid that turned into a blueberry and blew up (in the book any way).

      • Jessica Bennett says:

        Spoiler alert: I was creeped out in the movie early on when the man working for Wonka came up to each kid and whispered in their ear to steal a gobstopper- I think that bothered me even more than the Oompa Loompas. I don’t remember the books scaring me as much, but Dahl is definitely known for being creepy. Have you read any of his adult stories?

  12. I pretty much adore chocolate in any form. If the air in El Chocolate smells like chocolate, I am moving there.

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