Oooh, this Chocoatl place sounds like it’d be worth a visit. From the Vancouver Sun: Sweetness from way down south.

When Thelmis Velgis opened Chocoatl in Yaletown a year ago, he dove deep into chocolate and history. Figuratively speaking.

The shop specializes in chocolate drinks long established in Mexico (going back a couple thousand years), but new to Vancouver.

The name of their shop, Chocoatl (pronounced choco-atel), comes from the Aztecs. "There are two theories about the meaning," says Velgis. "Choco means bitter. ‘Atl’ could mean water as they didn’t use milk. The other theory is that the word mimics the "choco-choco-choco" sound the wooden molinillo makes when it’s whisking foam in a chocolate drink," he says. "It used to be a delicate art. Now we have steamer machines."

At the shop, chocolate lovers can try hot chocolate made with chocolate infused with lavender, rose, champurrado (corn), spices or orange. They do the infusing process themselves. His chocolates are single origin products, meaning they are from one farm. "I have friends in Central America. I have my importers," he says.

Soon they will be making their own chocolate in Mexico, he says. "Why? Because I can do it. It’s not that much fun buying it already made. You don’t get the quality you want. If I make it myself, I can choose where the cocoa beans come from to get a specific taste. It’s like coffee."

In Mexico, he says, chocolate has been primarily a drink and cooking ingredient. "It’s more traditional to drink chocolate than eat it," he says.

The first chocolate drink in Mexico was a mix of ground cocoa beans, water, wine, and peppers. The Spaniards tweaked it by heating the mixture and sweetening with sugar. Once it hit England, milk was added to the beverage. [continue]


3 thoughts on “Chocoatl

  1. Bill – thanks for the suggestions! I’ll remember this when we next visit Vancouver.

    Iarwain – fun links! Wow. I’m tempted to try making something like what your friend produced.

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