by Andy Jarosz

If ever a movie has perfected the ability of making its audience hungry it’s surely this Mexican classic. Released as Como Agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) in 1992 and based on the 1989 novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel , the story is set in the 1910s in revolutionary Mexico. It features sweeping landscapes, smoldering passions (literally) and the most bitter family politics, yet the central theme of traditional Mexican cooking and its power to evoke the wildest deep emotions is never far from center stage.

Like Water for Chocolate

In the movie, the main character Tita falls in love with her heartthrob Pedro. They want to marry, but as the youngest daughter, tradition dictates that she must remain single and look after her mother until she dies. Pedro is instead forced to marry Tita’s older sister, and to make matters worse, they all live under the mother’s roof. Tita quite literally throws her passions into her cooking and as the household’s head chef, she sets about creating dishes that spark the most uncontrollable emotional outbursts among the family members.

“Like Water for Chocolate” offers an insight into Mexican history and the traditions of Mexican family life 100 years ago, even if this insight flits between reality and a very colorful fantasy. The movie won an Ariel Award from the Mexican Academy of Film, but its greater achievement was in giving prominence to the wonders of traditional Mexican cuisine to the wider world.

A Taste of Mexican Food

As the title suggests, chocolate is a central ingredient in Mexican cooking, used not only in making desserts but also in many savory favorites. In its dark bitter form chocolate makes a natural addition to meat dishes and sauces. Perhaps no traditional Mexican dish is more celebrated than ‘mole’, a rich sauce that is often served with meat and rice. Chocolate is a popular ingredient in mole, usually added at the end of cooking in order to preserve its taste to the fullest.

One of the highlights of a vacation in Mexico is without doubt the tremendous variety of food on offer. Take the time to sample mole and be sure to have a sip of the Mexican drinking chocolate. And if you’ve enjoyed this dramaticchocolate film before your trip, you’ll be aware of what passions the tastes of Mexico might ignite inside you!

Photo | AlejandroLinaresGarcia

[originally posted on our blog]

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