Warm, cozy, and chocolaty champurrado recalls fond memories of childhood winters with family. From Christmas, to the New Year, and into Día de Los Reyes Magos, champurrado and chocolate are eagerly awaited. Always served hot, straight from the olla, and frothed with a peculiar wooden utensil – a molinillo. Despite indulging in champurrado all our lives, few know exactly what it is, where it comes from, and how it's prepared!
WHAT IS CHAMPURRADO?
Champurrado is a thick, warm, and filling drink with ancient roots – the perfect cold weather drink. Unlike hot chocolate, which boasts a worldwide reputation, champurrado is popular with many Mexican families as the winter go-to. Similar to chocolate mexicano, it's flavored with cinnamon and chocolate however, the key difference is the addition of flour or masa. This thickens the drinks and helps to keep the signature froth on top. There’s no question why we love champurrado so much, the scientific name for cocoa, Theobroma, literally meaning “food of the gods”.
WHAT IS A MOLINILLO?
Speaking of the signature froth on champurrado and hot chocolate, the tool used to make it is the molinillo. Before the age of electric mixers and blenders, Mexican families would boast the best chocolate in town using a hand-carved molinillo. By placing your hands flat together over the handle of the molinillo and sliding back and forth, the molinillo rotates quickly like a hand-powered mixer and results in a delicious froth.
Variations of molinillos have existed for thousands of years, from three-pronged cacao branches to the highly decorative ones we see today! The modern molinillos were invented in the 1700s, specifically to mix and froth chocolate. If you don’t already have one, we have them available as a set!
See our Champurrado coverage from Thillist National!