Cacao Farm Tour: Part 2 - Making Dark Chocolate
Making chocolate is a specialty that harkens back from ancient times from the Mayan culture, and I jumped at the opportunity to have an experience to learn about this from the Mayan descendants themselves.
In fact, it is the Mayans who discovered the cacao trees, and the process of extracting the beans and creating chocolate, so who better to learn from than those from Mayan descent? This tour included a trip to the organic cacao farm, who supplies the beans to this fantastic and unique little shop.
At Naia Resort & Spa, one of the wonderful experiences offered is the Cacao Farm & Chocolate Making excursion, and I embarked on this adventure while visiting there recently. In fact, Prince Harry and Megan Markle also found this tour to be incredible, as they had just taken the exact same tour only a few months ago!
This authentic Mayan chocolate shop, small and colorful, leads upstairs to a place where you then learn all about chocolate. The teacher shared how the beans are roasted, and sampled them to us, and the taste was indeed bitter but not quite as bad as I expected. You could eat the outside kernel and the seed itself, which I did. But then, these roasted beans were placed on a very important slab, where the beans would be ground by yet another stone.
The instructor shared how the stone slab and rolling stone was passed down from generation to generation for the last 1900 years! So, the stone is truly critical to the entire process.
Grinding and grinding the beans will eventually create a paste of chocolate, but it requires effort and energy. He ground it for awhile, then shared what it looks like. And, at that point, it is bitter. So, you can add sugar to it, which he did, and mix it together. The sugar he used actually came from sugar cane, ground as well in the same place, and when added to the pure, organic dark chocolate, created a beautiful and decadent smelling chocolate.
I actually got to make chocolate myself, and he had me grind and prepare the beans just as he had done. It was a very meditative and energetically challenging process, as it was not an easy grind. It had to be done for awhile just to get the chocolate to start to appear as something we’d recognize as edible chocolate.
At this point, we made enough of the chocolate to pour into a mold to create a chocolate bar, which was frozen, and then we were able to eat it. I admit that I ate too much, because it was very strong, pure, and yet so delicious I didn't really think it was 'too much.' Not the same diluted style like a candy bar I’d eat here, but rather this had a decadent flavor to it, and its rich, unique taste was all its own.
Downstairs once again, I found the proprietor of this shop, who poured me a spicy hot chcolate as well, upon my request, and told me all about the benefits of what I was consuming. The benefits for one's health is staggering, and I think it's best for you to hear it from him directly!
Overall, this day was an incredible one, expanded my knowledge and instilled a deeper appreciation of all things dark chocolate. That's one of the things that I love about Naia Resort & Spa, there are so many incredible mind-expanding experiences there for the taking. You just have to get there! If you have any questions and want to ask me, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Also, make sure you follow our social channels where we post more about this experience and this beautiful property!