When I was at the Fancy Foods show last spring I stopped by a little booth in the back that was enveloped in the most wonderful aroma of chocolate. I stopped and watched a woman froth up a short pot of fresh hot chocolate with a long, elaborately carved wooden tool — a molinillo.
A molinillo is a traditional Mexican tool used to froth hot chocolate or milky coffee. These from the show are handcarved and distributed by a company called Hernán, who also distributes a really lovely Mexican chocolate called Kekua — some of it with cinnamon included.
These tools are a lot of fun; yes, you can use a whisk or a French press to get a similar effect, but the molinillo is so beautiful that it's worth having for its decorative properties alone.