What is a Molinillo?
A molinillo is a wooden device used for making hot chocolate. It is a single piece of wood, carved to have a long, thin neck, a bulb at the base, and detached rings that dangle above the bulb. The neck of the molinillo is rubbed between your hands, much like the classic movie scenes of Native Americans, cave-dwellers and Boy Scouts starting fires with a stick.
Using a Molinillo...
To make Mexican style hot chocolate, you place a tablet of mexican chocolate in milk, and place the milk mixture on the stove to heat. The spinning bulb of the molinillo is used to break up the solid chocolate tablet that is heating in milk. The dangling rings, as they spin, give the milk a nice froth.
The same frothing effect can also be achieved by adding the hot chocolate to a blender, and processing for a minute or two. Molinillos, however, are infinitely more charming, and are much easier to clean up. Purchase your very own molinillo at Melissa Guerra!