How to Make Chocolate

Yesterday evening I arrived in the the cloudy mountains of Mindo.

map mindoThe first thing I wanted to do here, was go on the chocolate tour at El Quetzal de Mindo, where they grown cocoa beans, and have a small factory to produce bars of chocolate.
_MG_3300In my last post, I said that I don’t do tours, but this one included eating a brownie in a cafe. The tour is $6 and begins on the hour, every hour.
El QuetzalLuckily (or unluckily) I was the only person to show up at 11am. The 10am had four people and the 12pm had eight. This meant I had to really concentrate to pay attention, as Darwin – the guide, was only talking to me.
_MG_3316First we sucked the goo from around a cocoa bean, which tastes sweet.  They use this to make an awful tasting honey.
cocoa beansIf we look inside the bean, we can see this white part. This white part must die during the process (that’s what he said!), to produce good tasting chocolate.
_MG_3313The beans are then dried in a place like a greenhouse, and put in different boxes for various amounts of time. The last box kills the white thing.
dried cocoa beansThey also dry other things to add to the chocolate, such as coffee beans and chilli. Yes, I was more interested in the cat eating a chilli, than the beans.
_MG_3307The beans then go into different machines and we get los nibs.
_MG_3309
I think los nibs go into some more machines with 20 tonnes of pressure, and we get a cocoa paste, and cocoa butter (I never realised cocoa butter is actually made from cocoa beans). We cool it down on a marble table and add some flavours.
_MG_3323The small cup has pure chocolate inside. First I had to try it like that. It was so bitter, it wasn’t nice at all. Then I had to take a little bit on the spoon and we added sugar, which made it taste lovely. Then we added various flavours such as some coffee, some chilli, or some ginger.
home grown brownieLast, I got left to enjoy my homegrown chocolate brownie, with a cup of homegrown coffee. Yum!

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3 responses to “How to Make Chocolate

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