After reading we can make our own chocolate at the Choco Museo in Miraflores, it’s no secret that my mom, my sister, and I plan on making this a must-see destination. We enter the store and find just about everything chocolate: liqueurs, keychains, teas, and condoms. As a devoted chocolate lover I’m surprised and delighted chocolate can take on so many forms. Once our informational part of the tour begins, I find there is more to chocolate than a dark auburn shell with a burst of flavors ranging from sweet to bitter.
Our workshop begins and we’re eager to take on every step of the process. Everyone takes turns stirring the clay pot filled with cacao beans as they toast and are ready to be ground. Using a mortar and pestle we find it looks much easier to grind the beans into a fine powder than it actually is.
From here our instructor makes samples of cacao tea, traditional Incan hot chocolate with spices and peppers, and the more familiar sweet hot chocolate made popular by the Spanish. The best part is yet to come as we wait to get our own bittersweet chocolate from the staff to fill with plastic molds. We fill the molds with spices, nuts, or sprinkles, eager to taste its results.
Waiting for the chocolate to cool and settle in the fridge, I wander around the shop, exploring for uniqueness I might have missed. Looking at the signs and pictures of production, I am delighted to discover that Piura is one of the three places cacao beans are grown (Tumbes and Tocache are the other two), and I’m taken back to my time with the artisans of Asociacion Virgen del Pilar. Reading further, I learn Peru is second in South America for growing coca, 90% of which is made for cocaine. In order to steer away from illegal operations, Peru and international authorities helped farmers switch to cacao production. Their story is a success now that San Martin now grows 90% cacao plantations and their cacao is renowned throughout the world. Although I find the benefits of the coca leaf later in the high elevation of Cusco, I am glad to see farmers, like the artisans I worked with, recognized and respected internationally for their work with cacao. On my way out, I look up and see words that make chocolate more than a desired dessert: “Salua la tierra. Es el unico planeta con chocolate. Save the earth. It is the only planet with chocolate.” I can drink a cup of hot cocoa to that.
This post is a part of Weekend Wanderlust hosted by A Brit and A Southerner, A Southern Gypsy, Casual Travelers, Justin Plus Lauren, and Outbound Adventurer, Weekend Travel Inspiration hosted by Reflections Enroute, The Crowded Planet, Contented Traveller, Albom Adventures, Safari 254, Families Go! and Malaysian Meanders and The Weekly Postcard hosted by Travel Notes & Beyond.