La Chocolatada – A Peruvian Christmas Tradition

Chocolata Peru Christmas Tradition

Chocolate lovers stop right there!  Fans of Italian panettone you will also want to see this.  Dessert enthusiasts take heed. We would like to introduce you to a traditional Peruvian Christmas Dessert that has been enjoyed in my family for generations.

Ask any Peruvian child (and some adults, such as myself) what the key ingredient for Christmas is in the entire 1.2million mile stretch of country and the answer will be the same: chocolate! Or, more precisely La Chocolatada; Peruvian hot chocolate served with the Italian cake 'paneton'.



My personal favourite Chocolatada recipe and the one that has been in my family since my earliest memory, is rich in texture and in taste.

While my recipe includes evaporated and condensed milk, I have heard of people switching these dairy products for coconut milk to suit intolerances or vegan diets.  Whatever your needs there is a Chocolatada to suit you!

La Chocolatada


2 sticks of cinnamon
4 cloves
1 can (410g) of evaporated milk
4 cups of plain milk
1 can (395g) of sweetened condensed milk
100 grams of Peruvian Drinking Chocolate Bar
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
2 cups of water

In a large saucepan combine the water and spices. Bring to the boil before lowering the heat to a gentle simmer for five minutes. Add the plain milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk and gently simmer for a further two minutes.

Remove the spices at the end of the simmering time.

Gently stir in the chopped cooking chocolate and when melted follow by the cocoa powder.

Serve immediately.  Whipped cream is optional (and indulgent!)

For the La Chocolatada experience ensure the hot chocolate is accompanied by a decent serving of panettone.

Preparing Chocolatada Peru


While Cacau, the seed from which cocoa and cocoa butter is derived, has been in use in Peru since the time of the Incas, caliente (hot chocolate) was a product that emerged after the Spanish Conquistador introduced sugar cane to the country.  Peruvian cocoa beans have always had a less acidic composition and a special smell that differentiate them from other types of coca in the region, resulting in a unique tasting chocolate.

Over the years, the caliente chocolate bar, has settled both in Lima and the Peruvian provinces and is a product consumed not only at Christmas but all throughout the year.

Likewise, Paneton is enjoyed as a stand-alone dessert and often taken as a gift when travelling to see family or friends.

When these two delights are put together, la Chocolatada is created and there's no other Peruvian dessert that is more iconic with Christmas.

Chocolatada Navideña

More than just an exquisite desert, La Chocolatada has born another cultural tradition; the Chocolatada Navidena.  In the month of December across Peru (in particular the impoverished regions around the Andes) local communities and church groups come together to provide La Chocolatada to poor children and families. Funded and arranged entirely by private businesses, families and organisations, the event includes serving the dessert as well as giving gifts and providing festive entertainment.  Chocolatada Navidena is an opportunity for all people in Peru to celebrate Christmas together.  It is also a chance for poorer communities to enjoy treats that are generally unobtainable for them; such as the hot chocolate, which is prohibitively expensive.

Local Chocolatada Navideña

On December 22 the Peruvian Consulate in London will be hosting a Chocolatada Navideña event in association with the Rugby Portobello Trust. If you are interested in experiencing a Peruvian Christmas tradition, please see the link below.

For more details on some of the cultural and geographical features of Peru visit our website  Similarly, if you are planning a Latin adventure do get in touch to see how we can help you create your perfect holiday experience.

Images courtesy of Paula White and Elena Larkin

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