Chocolate Popo: a Tasty Traditional Drink from Mexico

Chocolate Popo isn't some weird reference to the volcano outside Mexico City! It's a flavor-filled and rare chocolate drink from Veracruz

For many Latin Americans, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention the name "Popo" is either the famous volcano Popocatepetl in Mexico, or the equally famous Brazilian soccer player Popo -- but there's a chocolate Popo, too.
It's a refreshing energy drink native to the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Popo the drink is often manufactured by local beverage producers as an alternative to the energy drinks offered by big multinationals -- Monster, Red Bull, Powerade, yadda yadda yadda. The big difference here is that a) Popo includes the world's most perfect food, chocolate; and b) you can make it yourself!

Popo by hand

If you'd like to taste real chocolate Popo, your best bet is to find some during your next vacation to Veracruz. Here you can enjoy the quaint architecture, great food, and lovely scenery at the same time. While you can make it yourself -- it's not that hard -- some of the ingredients are difficult to find.

Why? Because they're tropical, they spoil easily, and you usually can't buy them in American supermarkets. Some of these ingredients are roasted cacao beans. Another one is chupipi, a fruit that looks like a pale avocado or mango with white flesh. Chupipi fruit are local to Veracruz -- they're almost impossible to get elsewhere.

The recipe itself

If you do manage to get your basic ingredients, you can soon be on your way to healthy, delicious chocolate Popo! Here's what you need, and how you mix it all together. Sure, it'll take a little time, but it's no more or less trouble than most recipes. So let's get to it!

Ingredients:

Two cups of peeled and roasted cacao beans
1 cup of cooked rice (white only)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 chupipi fruit
2 cups of granular sugar
2.5 quarts of water

Directions:

Assuming you can get your ingredients without much trouble, the most time-consuming process of this recipe is probably preparing the chupipi fruit. You'll need to peel it and chop it into small pieces, before mixing it with the rice and cocoa beans.

Then break up the cinnamon sticks into the bowl containing the cocoa, rice, and chupipi, mix well, and run it all through a hand grinder.

Stir water into the resulting paste, and press the mixture through a filter or cheesecloth. Once you've gotten out as much of the liquid as you can, mix the paste with a little more water, then strain it again.

Pour the resulting liquid into a pitcher, and beat in the sugar until you have a foamy, dark-brown aromatic liqueur. It's best served over ice.

Congratulations -- you've made your own chocolate Popo!

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