Hola, before you dive into the post for today, make sure you check out Part 1 of our tour of the Don Juan Coffee Plantation Tour.
So after learning all about coffee, it was time for a little insight into the world of chocolate. It started with slicing open a cocoa pod. First off, lets just take a moment to appreciate how COOL these things look. I sort of assumed that chocolate game from little vanilla bean looking things (I’m not sure why). These are full on massive pods that are hard as rocks. I was impressed, and it wasn’t even opened yet.
So we cracked that baby open, and again, I was shocked. I thought there would be something that resembled a Hershey kiss inside (without the foil and paper though)
Instead we were met with these little guys. These white triangular seeds were slimy and had the slightest hint of cocoa flavour. Just like the coffee cherries, there were no biting these babies, as the inside would not taste good.
The process for the cocoa bean is similar to the coffee bean. They are dried to remove the liquid, then roasted. Once they are roasted, it’s time to make some chocolate.
Our guide took some roasted beans, popped it in a hand crank grinder, and started turning. It was crazy to see these little dried gross looking beans go in, and full on chocolate looking magic come out. All of a sudden the aroma in the room changed, and everyone stomachs started grumbling. Nothing follows a coffee tasting better then some fresh chocolate.
Despite the fact that this chocolate looked and smelled delicious, it is as pure as it gets.It’s like when you were a kid and went searching through your moms cupboards. Suddenly you come across chocolate and get so excited you pop it right in your mouth…only to discover it is bitter baking chocolate. Such a dirty trick.
or was that just me who did that?
Anyways, this wasn’t the chocolate we were going to sample. Our guide took the chocolate and started creating a special concotion. He started with sugar, and a lot of it. It certainly made me think about the supposed “health benefits” of chocolate. Something that needs that much sugar to make it taste good can’t be all that healthy for you.
After the sugar he added cinnamon, vanilla, and the secret ingredient, black pepper. We each had a tablespoon of this gritty sand like chocolate magic, and it was GLORIOUS! He then took the remaining mixture and added hot sauce to it. We tried that version and it was even better. I love the spicy chocolate mixture, it will be something I remember for when I get home!
After our authentic chocolate tasting experience, we had some samples of some more
western versions. Somehow white chocolate, dark chocolate, and chocolate covered coffee beans ended up in my belly. After all the coffee, chocolate (and a sample of pure sugar cane juice that I forgot to mention) we pretty much buzzed our way back to the reception.
Oh, and I forgot to mention one of the coolest things! At the start of our tour, our guide told us a little bit of history about Don Juan Cruz, of Don Juan’s Coffee Plantation. He was part of one of the first pioneering families to settle in Monteverde, and has an enormous number of children and grand children. I thought he had 9 kids, Shaun thought 11, but either way he has well over 20 grandchildren.
Note to self: start writing things down!
Anways, during the chocolate portion of our tour, we noticed our guides eyes light up. We all turned around to see a very small, very old man come into the room. Yes my friends, it was Don Juan himself. I suddenly felt like I was meeting someone famous, or at least a Disney character. He was certainly an amazing fellow, and walked around the room shaking everyone’s hand, and thanking them for coming on the tour.
In an attempt to not seem like paparazzi, I had Shaun snap this very unsneaky photo. Such tourists.
So that about sums it up! If you are in Monteverde, we highly suggest checking out the Don Juan Coffee Plantation Tour. But be prepared, you will be leave with a brain full of knowledge and body full of caffeine buzz!
Are you a coffee person or a chocolate person?
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