From the Cacao Tree

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.

MortarOur 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.

Chocolate TeaFrom 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.

Chocolate designsWaiting 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.

Homemade Chocolate

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.

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19 Comments

  1. seizetheday20

    Mmmmm…. chocolate! What’s not to love? I bet the chocs you made didn’t last long! 🙂

  2. Shobha

    Interesting that Peru is the second biggest producer of chocolate. What is the first? I know that Ecuador likes to promote its chocolate connections too.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I’m not quite sure who is the first biggest producer of chocolate, I’ll have to look it up! I’ll also have to check into chocolate in Ecuador. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. RobRob @TravelLatte(.net)

    Save the earth. It is the only planet with chocolate. – I love that! If the Global Warming folks really want to rally everyone, that’s the battle cry that could do it! 😉 Sounds like you had fun! #WeekendWanderlust

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Haha, I think it would be a great way to rally support for Global Warming! I had a great time and would do it again if I had the chance.

  4. malaysianmeanders

    That looks like a fun way to connect with a city. I’ve made chocolates before but never started with the roasting and grinding process. I am intrigued by that chocolate tea. Does it taste chocolaty at all?

    • brooklyntvlasich

      The tea is a little bitter, but it didn’t bother me. I really enjoyed the taste and could definitely find chocolate flavors in it. It definitely takes the flavor of dark chocolate, not milk chocolate.

  5. galanda23

    No kidding, Brook, chocolate condoms? Like your ‘other end’ could taste the chocolate? Ha,ha,ha! What can I say, I’m a chocolate addict, I shouldn’t be laughing about anything chocolate. And making your own must have been …. delicious!

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I must say, I really enjoyed your comment about the condoms, because it’s completely true! Lol. It seems just about anything can be made of chocolate, I suppose. Making my own was a lot of fun, I definitely recommend it if you get the chance in your travels!

  6. California Globetrotter

    Oooh yummy!! I really need to go to a Chocolate Museum! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. Anisa

    I love chocolate! There was a chocolate museum in Barcelona, but we didn’t have time to visit. #theweeklypostcard

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I hope you get another chance to visit a chocolate museum in your travels! This opportunity was a lot of fun.

  8. I’ve done chocolate making workshops before, but I’ve never had a chance to toast beans or grind them. This looks like a wonderful experience, and I think I would myself enjoy it. Thanks for linking up with #WkendTravelInspiration.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I was so glad I got the chance to make my own chocolate! If you ever get the opportunity I highly recommend it.

  9. Michelle | michwanderlust

    I’ve been to a chocolate factory tour near Boston (Taza Chocolate), which was really cool as they make it according to traditional Mexican traditions. Nothing quite like a hands-on experience, though! Your workshop sounds really fun and a great way to encourage the cacao industry 🙂

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I had a great experience at this museum and have visited other places, but it was great to have an opportunity to make my own chocolate. It made me think differently about these sweets.

  10. RobRob @TravelLatte(.net)

    Wait…a Choco Museo where you can make your own? Major score! We’d add that to the Must Do, too. In fact, we just did! 🙂

    • brooklyntvlasich

      That’s great news to hear Rob! Let me know what you know what you think when you go! 🙂

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