The key to better hot chocolate? Water.

The last thing I wanted as I stepped onto the sunlit courtyard of Chocolate de la Villa Real in the midday Mexican heat was a cup of cocoa. I’d spent the morning sweating, wending my way through overflowing displays of terra cotta pots, dried herbs, raw meat, and massive bowls of frothy beverages in a market in Zaachila, a small town outside Oaxaca City. The trip was sandwiched by long, hot car rides made longer by a teacher’s strike that had shut down the area’s major highways. I was parched. I yearned for cold agua fresca, a frosty beer, even a cocktail.


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