Hot chocolate the Aztec way

Original hot chocolate – the Aztec kind – didn’t come in a sugar- and nondairy creamer-filled packet. It was the hard stuff. Pure, amaze-those-Spanish-invaders chocolate, with some chilies and such. Hot chocolate for real chocolate lovers.

Escazu Chocolates in Raleigh, N.C., besides instituting the fabulous idea of a hot chocolate bar, is serving throwback chocolate drinks. Way thrown back. These beverages contain no milk, just like the originals.

Xochiaya contains chile, jasmine flower and spices. The drink called 1549 Spain is based on the first published in 1644, and contains nuts, star anise and vanilla, among other things. And 1670 Italy goes back to that time in history with lemon, lime and jasmine flavors added to the chocolate. Chilies, cinnamon and cloves flavor 1692 France.

Oh, if you must – the bar also has Escazu’s regular, old hot chocolate with milk and the company’s ground dark chocolate. You can liven those up with chipotle or peanut butter.

The hot chocolate bar is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop and bar are located at 936 N. Blount St., not far from Seaboard Station.

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