Ibarra is a Mexican chocolate produced by the company Chocolatera de Jalisco of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. This Mexican chocolate company produces several other chocolate products however, they are known throughout international markets for their famous Ibarra table chocolate. The Ibarra chocolate is about ½ inches thick and 3 ¼ inches in diameter it is shaped in a circle and molded into 8 pieces. This chocolate contains cinnamon flavoring, cocoa liquor (not cocoa butter), vegetable fat, sugar, and soy lecithin. It is typically used to make hot cocoa in a traditional Mexican form. To prepare a cup of Ibarra hot cocoa one needs two pieces of Ibarra chocolate, milk or water.
For example, my grandmother has cooked with this particular chocolate, Ibarra, for years. She does tend to make the traditional Mexican hot cocoa, but she has learned to make another type of traditional drink that goes by the name of Champurrado. This chocolate beverage taste similar to hot cocoa, however it has several other ingredients. My grandmother’s champurrado recipe contains milk, water, cinnamon, Ibarra chocolate, evaporated milk, sugar, flour, and vanilla. One can add alcohol if desired, but my grandmother never has added alcohol to her champurrado.
The chocolate based atole, champurrado, connects me to my childhood in so many ways. For one, my grandmother whom I adore is the only one who knows how to make this chocolate beverage. As a child, I always looked forward to the Holidays because it was the only time I got to taste my grandmother’s delicious champurrado. In fact, it was my favorite thing to drink served alongside my spicy chicken tamales. Not only did it the hot cup of champurrado keep my hands warm, but it kept me warm inside. I recall sitting around the fire, trying to stay warm on a cold Christmas night, with my family sharing a cup hot cup of champurrado. We sat around the fire for hours reminiscing and sharing wonderful thoughts and laughter’s. The following morning we would wake and warm-up the leftover champurrado and serve it again with tamales. A simple breakfast, yet my favorite childhood dish.
Unfortunately, I no longer have much connection to this traditional drink. My family doesn’t come together like we use to in the past therefore, my grandmother doesn’t make champurrado anymore. It is rare when I have a cup of champurrado. If I want to have a cup of champurrado I have to ask my grandmother to make me a personal batch. I have tried my friend’s mother champurrado and it just doesn’t taste the same as my grandmothers. Champurrado can be a challenging recipe to master. For one thing, one can over cook the flour which can cause the champurrado to harden once it cools. An instant mix for champurrado is actually sold in Mexican grocery stores but of course it doesn’t taste anywhere near by grandmothers delightful champurrado. My grandmother’s Champurrado will always take me back to my childhood years where my family was happy and complete during the Holidays.