Molinillo or Chocolate Whisk

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A molinillo is a whisk that was first produced by Spanish colonists in Mexico. They used the molinillo to stir and froth their chocolate drinks. Prior to Van Houten’s invention of the hydraulic press, chocolate contained a large amount of fat that was not soluble in water. A chocolate drink had to be continuously stirred in order to stay mixed. A small molinillo would have been used with an individual serving size cup. A large molinillo would have been used in a chocolate pot.
During the 18th century, the preparing, serving and consuming of chocolate and coffee became a ritualistic affair for the middle classes. While it had been popular with upper classes for a century earlier, the desire to mimic the upper classes led to a proliferation of utensils and serving ware to enhance the experience.
Currently not on view
Credit Line
Mars, Inc.
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Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
American Enterprise
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Related Publication
Sewer, Andy; Allison, David; Liebhold, Peter; Davis, Nancy; Franz, Kathleen G.. American Enterprise: A History of Business in America
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 9 in x 1 5/8 in; 22.86 cm x 4.1275 cm
National Museum of American History
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