Peru is a very large producer of cocoa beans and I am glad we did this workshop in a place that feels like “the real deal”. If we would have done it somewhere else, far from the origins of cocoa, it wouldn’t have been the same!
ChocoMuseo’s classes are informative and super fun! Smiley Gladys was our chocolate-making teacher, and not only she guided us on the task of making chocolate from scratch, she also gave us a crash course on the origins of chocolate and the historic use of cocoa beans.
After a brief introduction supported by the exhibits on the museum, we were all hands in action!
We started by preparing and tasting different drinks prepared with cocoa beans. My favorite? The cocoa tea prepared with the bean husks. Nothing goes to waste and it’s like having a lighter, zero calorie version, of hot cocoa! We got ourselves a cocoa tea bag (with dozens of servings) to enjoy on our side of the world, for about USD6.
During the class, we took a bunch of full cocoa beans and roasted them. Peeled them and mashed them – we even had a mashing competition to warm things up. Putting my chocolatier apron on wasn’t enough: I didn’t win!
After grinding and mashing the cocoa beans we were introduced to the electric machine that makes sure the mix is even smoother, by going round and round with it for more than 24hrs. We took a ready mix and prepared our own chocolates!
Gladys made sure we had such an assortment of toppings for our chocolates, to let our sweet creativity gone wild: all sorts of nuts, marshmallows, spices, salts, cookies, dried fruits. You feel like trying one of each and so we did quite an eclectic mix that we molded into different shapes.
Once you are done with the mixing and molding, you are supposed to leave your chocolates at the Museum’s fridge for a few hours and pick them up later.
This was the result:
We had such a great time making chocolate with our group and Gladys and, of course, tasting different treats at the Museum as well. Their chocolate is top notch, particularly the bitter one: dark, so intense and sustainable, as it is locally grown.
We’d absolutely recommend a visit to ChocoMuseo Cusco when you are in town. You can buy a lot of chocolate related products in their shop (movies, toiletries, condoms, merchandise, jewelry made with cocoa beans), you can also have a sweet treat form their menu (there’s great coffee as well!) and, of course, take a class to enlighten you in the beauty of the chocolate making art.
This class was a real treat!