Tascalate: The Ancient Chocolate Drink from Chiapas

Tascalate is a pre-Hispanic drink commonly consumed in Chiapas, Mexico; however, it can also be found in Tabasco.

Without a doubt, Mexican beverages are a marvel and a taste experience that anyone should try.

Today, I’ll share a few insights about this refreshing and traditional drink not known by many people.

What is Tascalate?

tascalate
Source: Gustavo Camarillo Rangel/flickr.com

It is said that the first record of this drink dates back to 1566; this is found in the journal of Bishop Diego de Landa, where he relates that the Chiapanecos consumed Tascalate regularly.

Nowadays, Tascalate is prepared with roasted corn, chili, chocolate, pine nuts, cinnamon, and piloncillo.

In those times, religious and romantic attributions were not lacking in this drink.

With the passage of time and the Spanish conquest of indigenous territory, the original recipe changed, but the preparation of the pre-Hispanic drink continued.

This drink is consumed cold; the reddish powder (resulting from grinding the aforementioned ingredients) is dissolved in water or milk and accompanied by ice.

You can enjoy it in the morning, midday, afternoon, or evening. Many drink it hot as if it were hot chocolate.

Thanks to its natural ingredients, Tascalate provides health benefits such as: improving blood circulation, slowing aging, and filling you with energy.

Tascalate is fresh, sweet, spicy, and with a touch of achiote; I’m serious, you won’t want to miss it.

You may want to read: Mexican Cafe de Olla: The Traditional Spiced Coffee

How is Tascalate prepared?

tascalate
Source: Luis/flickr.com

Tascalate, having its origins in the indigenous culture of Chiapas, it is not surprising that its base is corn.

Keep in mind that when visiting these southern cities, you will come across another similar beverage called pozol (don’t get confused).

The most common way to take tascalate is to buy powder in any market in Chiapas, but in case you don’t find it (or are not in this area), the ingredients are the following:

  • Corn tortilla
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Achiote
  • Sugar

How to prepare

  • Start by roasting the corn tortillas according to the amount of tascalate powder you want to make
  • Once the tortillas are toasted it will be necessary to grind them, the most efficient way to do it is to introduce them in a blender until they are completely converted into powder
  • In the same blender or food processor add the cinnamon, sugar, and achiote powder to mix all these ingredients and create a homogeneous powder that will turn into a reddish color (characteristic color of the achiote)
  • Some people add pine nuts or peanuts to give it an almond flavor, it is completely optional
  • Once you have the powder, fill a liter of water or milk in a pitcher and then add 3 or 4 tablespoons of tascalate powder
  • Add sugar or sweetener to taste and finally, serve in a glass or pitcher with ice

I hope you get a chance to try this southern Mexican beverage. Simple as it sounds, it’s delicious!

The best place to find it is in local markets. Salud!

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