Sugar and spice

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Sometimes I think a nice cup of hot chocolate is the perfect dessert. It gives you a daily dose of calcium and chocolate, and it’s unchallenging enough that it might even help you sleep. But what if you want chocolate that’s really hot, for a cold night or for a change? On the shelves at Taylor’s Market, I recently spotted a sleek square tin from Chuao Chocolatier, based in Southern California. The Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate, made with spices available in pre-Columbian days and ground Venezuelan chocolate, is indeed piquant enough to wake up your taste buds. There’s a little dried milk in there, too. The package suggests the beverage with hot water (just like the real Mayans did), but I tried it with milk, which added a little extra body and took the edge off of the spice, in case you want to be soothed rather than rocked.