Close your eyes and imagine the best chocolate in the world. Belgian expertise and Maya traditions and ingredients meet at Ki’Xocolatl in Mérida. This cozy, fragrant chocolate shop will tempt all of your senses.
A little history, from Ki’Xocolatl’s website: “In the Maya and the Nahuatl languages, the word Ki-xocolatl means: delectable chocolate. This name was chosen in honor of the two great pre-Hispanic cultures that dominated the cultivation of cocoa plants, and passed it on to modern man. The Olmecs as well as the Mays were the first to cultivate cocoa, which was used to prepare a drink offered in their religious ceremonies. Cocoa beans were later used as a monetary medium of exchange in commercial dealings. Later, the Aztecs mixed cocoa with spices to convert it into a drink for Gods and Kings.”
In 2003 Belgian couple Stéphanie Verbrugge and Mathieu Brees moved to Mérida, from Belgium by way of Venezuela. Mathieu has professional training in Belgian chocolate-making and other sweets. Stéphanie has tourism and hotel training, and together they have the expertise and love of chocolate which translates into their Pensiones chocolate factory and two very different retail stores. (The Montecristo store specializes in traditional Belgian-style chocolates, bombones, and desserts.) The Centro location is where you will have an unforgettable experience with an immersion into Maya chocolate traditions.
Beautifully and temptingly displayed, you will find freshly made dark semi-sweet chocolate, dark semi-sweet chocolate with red pepper and fine spices, and milk chocolate with crisp cocoa. You will find chocolate for hot chocolate and chocolate-covered coffee beans. You will see displays of traditional Maya chocolate-making tools. And that is just the beginning.
After you have contemplated what to take home with you, step into the cozy seating area where you can order a cup of hot or cold chocolate, either milk-based or, traditional to the Maya, water-based. Espresso or iced coffee, tisanes made from natural fruits, or milkshakes (made from coffee, chocolate, or vanilla ice cream) are other beverages to tempt you. And just wait for the brownies…you won´t be able to decide between the brownies made from three Tabasco chocolates and pecans, served with bitter chocolate sauce on top…or the Chiapas coffee, chocolate, and cinnamon brownie with white chocolate sauce on top. They will literally melt in your mouth. Enjoy it all in air-conditioned comfort with free wireless internet.
Recently, Mathieu accompanied Belgian chocolate expert Dominique Persoone on his chocolate research. For three weeks they traveled to Yucatán, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, and Guatemala. They learned that the first cacao trees grew in Yucatán! No wonder so much chocolate lore is attributed to the Maya. The result of the research produced a book and DVD by Persoone, called The Roots of Chocolate, available in English, French and Spanish. And the certified organic chocolate used in both their stores comes from Chiapas and Tabasco.
Pensiones: Calle 5-D #313 x 38 y 38-A
Centro: Calle 60 x Calle 55, Parque Santa Lucía
Montecristo: Calle 49 x 32 #215, Local 17, Colonia San Antonio Cucul
Hotel Rosas & Xocolate: Paseo de Montejo x Calle 41
– Face to Face: Mathieu & Stepahie Brees