The Mayans were believed to be the first to cultivate cocoa for the purpose of making hot chocolate beverages. For this purpose, and also because chocolate drinks vary from one region to another, I wanted to give the Mayan hot chocolate at Ah Cacao in Cancun a shot. Ah Cacao at La Isla is a small but great cafe stocked with many bars of delicious dark chocolate, chocolate ice cream, chocolate shower gel, massage oil and shampoo, and whatever chocolate goodiness you can think of. One of the guys who worked there was also really sweet and awesome — he remembered us on our second visit and gave us samples of dark chocolate and actual cocoa to try too.
Mayan Hot Chocolate @ Ah Cacao, Plaza La Isla, Cancun
The hot chocolate was pretty rich but no where near as thick as European hot chocolate. The drink had a certain type of spiciness to it — I could not tell if it was cinnamon or some sort of pepper or a combination of both. It was very nice to sip on this on a relatively cool day in Cancun and because of its richness, a small cup was a satisfactory amount to sip on.
The guy who worked there told us about the health benefits of eating cocoa beans and warned us about the bitterness before giving us some to try. Boy was he not kidding.
And as much as I love chocolate, I refrained from purchasing any chocolate toiletries because I think those would just encourage me to eat an obscene amount of chocolate.
Donuts are not remotely Mexican but they deserve a mention in this blog post because the donuts at the beach behind Coco Bongo are so soft and delicious!
Another one of my favourite treats here is the fruity sorbets sold at a hut on Isla Mujeres, an island that is just a ferry ride away from Cancun. Had their guanabana (soursop) sorbet ice cream and loved it! A very refereshing treat on a hot and humid day.
For the sake of being ‘adventurous’ and ‘cultured’, I purchased some local and possibly questionable snacks from the souvenir store. One of the snacks I got was the candy coconut roll. I bought a couple to bring back home but ended up snacking on one during my twelve hour layover in LAX.
This snack has a strong coconut taste to it and is very sticky. To describe this more accurately, it was like coconut flavoured sticky rice but is not made from rice the last time I checked the ingredients on the label.
The souvenir stores also sold a lot of chocolates, cakes and candies filled with liqueur such as tequila, Baileys and Kahlua. I do wonder if these liqueur filled snacks are truly Mexican specialties or if they only marketed as local delicacies to tourists who presumably love their alcohol and often equate Cancun to drinks and parties. The stores also sold plenty of mini bottles of tequilas, which I learnt is Mexican water, much like how vodka is Russian water.
Speaking of tequila, I came across bottles of liquor. To get to the bottom of things, there were worms in them.
I sipped a small sample of this drink which I later found out was not tequila but mezcal. Mezcal is actually stronger than tequila and its distillation process is distinct from the one for producing tequila. I was curious as to why there were worms in the bottles of mezcals and wondered if they actually played any role in enhancing the drink but after looking it up online, it does seem like the worms are only there as a marketing gimmick.