Thanks to so many generations that have taken the time to honor and teach their customs and traditions to their children, and to the people who have dedicated their lives to investigating how our ancestors lived, today we can learn about and experience firsthand some of the pleasures that they enjoyed, as is the great variety of dishes that we inherit from our original cultures and that were mixed with ingredients brought from Spain to create the wonderful melting pot that is Mexican cuisine.
And as a great example of it, today I want to talk to you about tascalate, also know as tescalate, tlascalote or taxcalate, which is a drink of pre-Hispanic origin whose name comes from the Nahuatl word tlaxcalatl which means “tortilla water”.
Its first documentary record dates back to 1566, when Friar Diego de Landa, bishop and chronicler who came to New Spain to evangelize its inhabitants, mentions him in the text known as List of Yucatan things. There he points out that the tascalate was a very popular drink made from roasted grain, seasoned with chili and chocolate. It was taken on holidays and magical properties were attributed to it and it was associated with love.
As Fray Diego relates, the ingredients of the original recipe was roasted corn, chili and chocolate; however, upon the arrival of the Spaniards, it was modified and new elements were added, such as piloncillo, cinnamon and pine nuts to give it an almond flavor.
Currently it is prepared from an orange-colored powder that is obtained by mixing and grinding toasted tortillas and cocoa with achiote and cinnamon, which is added to a pitcher of very cold water and sweetened with brown sugar; however, there are those who like to substitute water for milk and drink it hot.
When tasting it, the roasted flavor undoubtedly dominates with the indisputable taste of cocoa and achiote. It has a touch of chili; but, at the same time, it is pleasantly light and refreshing, especially on hot summer days.
Although this powder can be easily prepared at home, it can also be purchased packaged in various places, mainly in stores and markets in Chiapas.
In fact, Tascalate today has a denomination of origin thanks to the efforts made by the producers and the government of that state.
Regarding the benefits obtained from its regular consumption, it is known that, due to the properties of cocoa, it helps improve blood flow to the brainwhich results in a sharper memory and reasoning, as well as a greater ability to concentrate.
Also, for its high content of antioxidants helps delay aging and, due to its contribution of unrefined carbohydrates, it is a great source of energy. In addition, it is rich in protein.
For all this, I invite you then to try this ancient drink that is part of our roots and identity as Mexicans. when you take it, enjoy it and imagine that, with each small sip, you are drinking a little piece of our history.