Chef Christian Bravo Story – Chilmole

Chilmole at Unico Hotel Riviera Maya

We all recognize traditional gold—bright, shimmering, and yellow like the sun. One day, I unexpectedly encountered a one-of-a-kind black gold that would forever change the image of gleaming rays of light I had painted in my mind.

I was aimlessly walking down an unfamiliar path through a quaint, Mexican village when I came across a house where a group of Mayan women were roasting peppers over a comal (cast iron pan) until they turned black. The smell of aromatic spices and firewood filled the air and instantly, I was captivated by their passion as they created a dark, black paste—they called it chilmole. Since that day, I have only been able to refer to chilmole as “black gold”.

Your first taste of chilmole will transport you to the same Mayan village I stumbled upon that unplanned day.

It’s a certain elusiveness and flavor that makes it UNICO (one-of-a-kind).  

Much like UNICO, chilmole can only be experienced, not expected.

Get a taste for chilmole in our Tuna Aguachile dish at Cueva Siete.  

- Chef Christian Bravo

Chilmole Recipe


15 minutes; 2 servings


2 cups fresh tuna, diced in ½ inch cubes


4 tsp "Chilmole" paste

Juice of half a lemon

4 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp sesame oil

Salt to taste


4 tbsp cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp red onion, finely diced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp cucumber, diced in ½ in cubes

6 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tbsp Mexican turnip, diced (or water chestnuts)


1. Dice tuna, then place in a stainless steel bowl and keep refrigerated until step 3.                                            
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice (using a whisk) and chilmole paste carefully until the paste is fully dissolved. Once the paste is dissolved in the lemon juice, add the soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil (do not add too much). The flavor should be balanced, slightly smoky, and not overly acidic. Refrigerate the marinade for 30 minutes.                       
3. Remove the diced tuna from the refrigerator and mix with the marinade just seconds before serving. Serve the ceviche over a chilled seashell. Garnish elegantly so that all colors of the dish can be appreciated. Option: can also be enjoyed with your preferred chips.                 

Now close your eyes, take a bite and imagine the sounds of the Caribbean Sea, the smell of an open fire, and the tranquility of  UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya. We are waiting for you.