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.”
The beginnings of Ki’Xocolatl
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.
This Yucatecan company started in 2003 producing three chocolate bars, and today – and 20 years later – Ki’Xocolatl exports its products beyond Mexican borders and all over the world. They also work closely with cacao producers in Tabasco and Chiapas and support the recovery of the almost extinct Criollo cacao bean through cultivations in the Puuc region of Yucatán.
The Variety of Chocolate
If we talk about some of the company’s most popular products, Stephanie Verbrugge, founder and general manager, tells us that some of the best sellers include the chocolate bars that are packaged in boxes with Maya-inspired motifs and vibrant colors that represent the vitality of México. Nearly 20 years after its founding, Ki’Xocolatl now offers 13 different flavors with ingredients from different Mexican states.
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.
How about a milk chocolate bar with almonds and oregano from Yucatán, or a semi-sweet chocolate bar with lime and almonds from Campeche? Unique flavors made with the finest chocolate. Oh, is sugar off the menu for you? Ki’Xocolatl caters to you too. They have created two sugar-free options, and let me tell you…they are exquisite.
In addition to these classics, Ki’Xocolatl has a line of bonbons that includes solid figurines, chocolates with different fillings, and seasonal beauties to help celebrate special occasions. Each one is handmade, preservative-free, and tastes like heaven.
My favorites were the chocolate figures. Some are brown and white, but others are painted in a variety of colors. Javier, a chocolatier with eight years of experience, is in charge of bringing them to life. The process of creating these delightful figurines includes “painting with chocolate” which is very similar to oil painting and requires great mastery. In this delicate process, the temperature and drying time are essential factors to achieve delicious and glossy confections.
Chocolate in Downtown Santa Lucía Park
If you are enjoying a day downtown, it’s a “must” to go and visit Parque Santa Lucía, at the corner of Calle 55 and 60; there you will find this wonderfully delicious boutique. Remember we told you that you would be able to drink, eat and wear chocolate? In the Ki’Xocolatl store you will find one of the biggest varieties of chocolate products, including chocolate bars with flavors such as Campeche lime with almonds; green tea with cacao; and chocolate shampoo. Can you believe it? This is truly a dream come true for every chocolate lover!
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.
A Perfect Gift
And remember: with every kilo sold, a bonus is given to the producers! You will be surprised to know that this is just one of the actions that Ki’Xocolatl carries out as part of its sustainability actions, both within the business and in the cacao farms they work with. The success of these efforts is reflected in the company’s membership with Cacao-Trace, a program that looks to guarantee sustainable cacao production in the long-term.
Stores in Mérida:
- Plaza Galerías, Calle 60, Zona Industrial, Revolución
- Plaza City 32, Calle 32 Av. Andrés García Lavín, Fracc. Montebello
- Plaza El Pocito, Calle 49 #215 x 32, Local 17, Col. San Antonio Cucul
- Plaza Paseo 60, Calle 60 x 33-A y 35 Centro
- Parque Santa Lucía, local 5, Calle 60 #471 x 55, Centro
Stores in México:
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