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I left my heart in Guadalajara!

By: Jon Gatewood

Where would the world be without chocolate? It would probably be a less friendly place, lacking love and romance for many. I myself might not be married if not for the sweet sensuality of chocolate. The satiny texture, the smooth soft colors... Oh chocolate, chocolate, wherefore art thou chocolate.

Once upon a time, the god Quetzalcoatl traveled to earth on a beam of the Morning Star with an offering to the people, a cacao tree. Quetzalcoatl then taught the people how to roast and grind the cacao seeds to make paste that could be dissolved in water. Spices where added and the drink was called "chocolatl," or bitter-water. Chocolatl was believed to bring universal wisdom and knowledge.

Cocao was "The Food of the Gods" and was protected by Calchinhtlucue, the goddess of water, and Tonacatecutli, the goddess of food. So important were they, that every year, a human sacrifice was offered. The last meal the victim ate was cocao.

The word "chocolate" is said to come from the Mayan word "xocoatl" and the Aztec word "cacahuatl". The Mexican Indian term "chocolate" means "foam water". Which makes sense since it was originally consumed in the form of a liquid. In fact as part of the Mesoamerican marriages a mug of foamy chocolate was shared.

In Guadalajara the descendants of these early people, the Ibarra family, still carry on the ancient traditions of chocolate making. Including the production of "chocolatl".

In 1939 the Ibarra family began elaborating chocolate production for sale. They believed that chocolate makers had forgotten what quality meant. They re-introduced the older procedures and methods of chocolate making with modern machinery to acquire a superior product for the time.

Some authentic Mexican chocolate dishes include "Mole", "Champurrado", and elaborate cakes. Hot chocolate, a bit different from our own northern version, served with "Churos" (cucumber shaped fritters) or "Chonchas" ( a kind of sweet bread) compliment, in a Mexican way, a good breakfast or family dinner.

Ibarra's Chocolate expanded itself over the years to be an international distributor of Mexican chocolate and chocolate products including Table Chocolate Ibarra Brand, Powdered Chocolate, Syrup, and Flavored drinks with Choco Choco Ibarra Brand. They were the first Mexican chocolate producer to do so and are very proud of that fact.

So drink your Cocao, eat your Hershey's bar, try that Table Chocolate, and thank Quetzalcoatl for his gift to us so many years ago.

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