Today is our final day in Colombia, and it’s a dreary, rainy one. We decided to change our plans and not take the funicular up the mountain, as there probably wasn’t much to see up there anyway with all the clouds. Instead, we headed to our favorite local cafe for our favorite snack: Chocolate con Queso.
Chocolate con Queso is popular in both Colombia & Ecuador. It’s typically served in the morning, but it’s not your typical American version of hot chocolate out of a packet with some stale marshmallows. Oh no! Chocolate con Queso is the highest form of hot chocolate art. Lovingly made from scratch in a special pot called a chocolatera, it’s decadent & rich. The fact that we’re in the birthplace of chocolate means the chocolate they use is dark and complex…the perfect chocolate in my opinion.
And then Colombians & Ecuadorans put their own special spin on it. They add in chunks of queso, a firm cheese they call doble crema, which is similar in texture to mozzarella or queso fresco. These chunks of cheese steep at the bottom of the mug, bringing a bit of saltiness to the rich sweetness. The perfect complement! And once you have finished your chocolate, you eat the chocolate-infused, slightly melted cheese at the bottom of your mug. Although we often cheat and eat some halfway through.
We’ve asked around to try and find out why they put cheese in it. And nobody seems to know. Colombians put cheese on or in just about everything (a practice we approve of) so it makes perfect sense to add it to drinks as well. And once you’ve had chocolate con queso you’ll never question why there is cheese in there. It’s too delicious!
Chocolate con queso is typically eaten with various types of pan (bread). Here in Colombia, it’s called Chocolate Santafareño and is served with buttered bread and a yeasty corn roll. In Ecuador, you might eat Chocolate con Queso with a different type of pan or with bolas verde con queso (a kind of cheese ball made with platanos verdes). In either case, it is a meal in itself. And our favorite choice for elevensies, our mid-morning snack.