Recently, I stumbled upon this video which helped me to understand that chocolate, a food that most people enjoy and savor, has a deeper meaning and importance then I realized. A few weeks ago, I began to reflect on the debates and discussion about what is chocolate. This week I came to realize that Mexican chocolate is nothing like what we are used to eating in this culture and has a rich history and brings flavors of chocolate to the table, which other chocolates do not. This short video will give you some understanding of the history behind cacao in Mexico.
So many of us are only used to commercial chocolates, like Nestle’s. Many of my friends, once first exposed to what we refer to as Artisan chocolates, those smooth and sweet individually made chocolates find them distasteful because they are not what they are used to eating (i.e Nestle’s).
The same is true for Mexican chocolates. While you can find them in the United States, they taste nothing like the chocolate you can find in Mexico in what are called tiendas de chocolate. Each of theses shops buys the cacao beans, roasting and grinding them to order, each with their own process. They create blends which satisfy the pallets of their customers. Unlike European chocolate, Mexican chocolate is minimally processed, made quickly and with minimal to no use of computerized equipment. Yet we hear so little of this form of chocolate.
For those who grow and harvest these beans, there is a reverence and spiritual meaning to the process. There is an understanding that these trees will survive longer then they will if taken care of, honored and protected. Even when animals eat the fruits of these trees which contain the seeds, there is an honoring of the lives of those animals as well. There is a recognition that we all must eat to survive and all of creation, deserves the right to eat that which is available to them.
What if we tapped into this reverence, which in most faith traditions, we are called to do anyway? What if we honored all that the Ultimate created, nature, animals, as well as humanity. What if we opened our senses to appreciate what foods taste like when they are not processed, chemically treated and genetically modified? Would we have a new appreciation for that which is presented in its purest of forms? If we have had limited opportunities to taste foods in their purest forms, what else in our lives that feeds us have we yet to taste in its purest form?