Doña María Jesús Martín Y May, a native of Ticul, is 97 years old, 82 of which she has dedicated to bringing the unmistakable flavor of traditional Yucatecan chocolate tablilla to homes.
(Diario de Yucatán).- According to legend, chocolate originated in Mexico when the god Quetzalcoatl stole the cacao tree from paradise and planted it in Tula as a gift to the Toltecs, so that they could make it grow and feed on it to become wiser and more prosperous. The tree was later called Theobroma Cacao, which in Greek means “food of the gods”.
Doña María says that she learned how to make handmade chocolate when she was 15 years old. Then she accompanied her aunt who worked in a cafeteria (which she remembers as ”Sanchez”); shortly after she married and together with her husband, Mr. Juan Xix, opened the ”El Triunfo” bakery, where they also sold their chocolate.
The couple made the tablillas practically every day for sale, she also remembers that it was essential in their children’s breakfast before going to school. Although their nine children learned the art of chocolate, they were not completely dedicated to it, as they all studied different things.
Mother and daughter happily recall the days when they made the tablets as a family: everyone worked as a team, which made the process faster and more bearable. From time to time, they could even taste bits of the chocolate dough. In those days, they would fill large pots with cocoa to make their product, so sometimes it was impossible to grind it by hand, so they would take it to the mills to speed up the process.
However, in the 1980s, Doña Jesús’ husband passed away, and since her children could not continue working in the bakery, they had to close the family business. Then the production and sale of chocolate had to decrease, to the extent that now it is only produced during the cold season, two or three months a year.
Now, with less agility than before, but with a lot of love and desire to preserve a Yucatecan tradition, Doña María Jesús, with the help of some family members, continues to make her handmade chocolate.
The tablets of María Jesús chocolate cost 8 pesos each, but they are also sold in packages of 8 pieces and can be purchased directly at the family’s house located on 28th Street, between 19th and 17th in Ticul, Yucatán.
The family also has as means of contact to sell their product the telephone numbers 983 166 5912 and 997 972 0143.