May 23, 2022

Costa Rica, chocolate edition

We took a chocolate farm tour while we were in La Fortuna.

It was so fascinating to learn how the cocoa bean grows, the history of chocolate, and the process of making the chocolate.

I don't even like chocolate, but it was very interesting. Well, I might have started to fall asleep during the first part of it but that was because we had spent a morning on an adventure course and not the fault of the tour itself.

I wish I hadn't waited so long to write this down because now I can't remember all of the interesting things I learned. But I will try my best and at least follow the order of the pictures.

You can see the stages of growth here.

This was where the cocoa beans were drying out. We got to bite them open and try them.

I feel like this was the vanilla plant but now I can't even remember that. So you can enlighten me if you know what this is.

We got to sit and watch the traditional process of the cocoa beans becoming chocolate. I didn't love the taste at the end, but it was a beautiful process.

We got to try the fleshy part of the fruit. This part was edible and pleasant.

This box shows the stages of the beans. They sit for weeks as they dry out and ferment, etc.

We had another taste and then Eric did some shelling.

Then they sift the shells out by dropping the pieces from one bowl above to a bowl underneath while fanning the bits as they drop. The shells would blow away leaving the cocoa bits.

They were heated and rolled.

Then we ground them.

And everyone witnessed that I had zero strength.

The ground cocoa.

Then that was made into a cocoa drink--the drink of the gods. I sipped but I couldn't do it.

Then the took the chocolate we made by the spoonful and added all sorts of toppings and treats to it. I was trying so hard to make milk chocolate with sugar, powdered milk and peanuts. I concluded I don't care about the health benefits--give me a real snickers bar any day.

Here's the process in a nice flow chart.

And here is the beautiful final product.

I'm glad we got to experience this.