Being at the teensy tiny tail-tip end of my trip, and recovering from a nasty case of Lago de Atitlán ameobas, I can’t think of a better subject to address than the single greatest creation of Central American cuisine. This is an essential staple, inexplicably and unfairly absent from points north in general and my life before Guatemala in particular. I am not talking about baleadas, tamales, or atol, though I love those things madly. I’m not even talking about tortillas, although I’ve developed zealous obsessions for no fewer than four different types of them on this trip. Ask me about tortillas. I’ll tell you.
No, now is the time to talk about chocofruta. Like most genius concepts, it’s incredibly simple : put a stick in a piece of fruit. Freeze it. Dip it in melted chocolate. Roll it in crushed peanuts or don’t roll it in crushed peanuts. Hand it to the waiting small child, hand it to me, or put it back in the freezer until I get there.
Chocos are so good. To find them, look for a piece of printer paper tacked outside a shop or someone’s house with chocofruta scrawled on it in marker, or if there’s no sign anywhere in town, ask little girls. They are guaranteed to know exactly where to send you. When you get there you may have to buy a couple extra chocos, but it’s worth it.
The apex of chocofruta creation is fittingly in the highlands of Guatemala, where chocopapaya and chocomango vie for my ultimate loyalty, and a peanut-covered version is almost always available. Further south, chocobananos are usually the only option – still good – and peanuts are a rare treat. To the south, chocofrutas mysteriously vanish around Nicaragua somewhere, and presumably somewhere in Mexico to the north : why?
I’m taking a stand. If you make it close enough to my parents’ freezer this summer, I’ll hand you a chocofruta out of it. The freezer is in Pennsylvania.