Volcanic rock, also known as a lava stone, has been present in Mexican kitchens since pre-Columbian times. The oldest metates (grinding stones) and molcajetes (mortars) found in Mexico date back for 20 centuries.
The food prepared in a volcanic stone tool has rich, mineral flavor that is so valued by any expert in Mexican cuisine, as well as any Mexican who has grown with their mamá or abuela preparing salsa at home. Due to the porosity of the volcanic stone that is crucial for improving grinding efficiency of the tools, both molcajetes and metates keep the aroma of the food prepared in them. This helps greatly with the delicious taste of guacamole and salsa from molcajetes used for generations, or vanilla flavored chocolate made in metate, but it is important to know we need a dedicated tool for each food type in order to prevent the aromas of one to influence another.
Today, volcanic stone is still carved in a traditional way, by hand. The artisan families from Jalisco, Guanajuato and Puebla keep the tradition alive and still make the metates and molcajetes as their great-grandparents used to do.