Stories

Making Chocolate at ChocoMuseo in Granada

 

When the Mayans discovered chocolate 2000 years ago, little did they know that it would later become a most coveted superfood worldwide.

In Mayan society, all classes, rich and poor alike, were entitled to this nutrient rich food.

ChocoMuseo

The Mayans were the first to harvest the beans from the cacao tree, ferment, dry, roast, and then ground the seeds into a paste to make a bitter frothy drink. Not only did they use it as a drink for ceremonies, and special occasions; they also discovered the medicinal benefits of the bean, and prized this fatty seed so much that they used it as currency.

During the conquest of Mexico in 1521, chocolate was discovered by the Spaniards, and they quickly realized how valuable this bean was. It was brought to Europe, and it swiftly became much more exclusive to the wealthy upper class. Because this brown gold was an expensive import, only those with money could afford to drink it.

ChocoMuseo

The Spaniards managed to keep their import a secret for close to 100 years before the rest of Europe stumbled upon it.

Chocolate is now a most loved treat around the world, and thankfully, not just for the rich.

The process of making food is not widely made public, so often times we don’t think about the hard work that goes into it, and chocolate making is no exception. Farmers work in the severe heat harvesting the ripe yellow pods from the tree and extracting the wet bean. The bean is then fermented in banana or plantain leaves for 5 days.

Once the fermentation is complete, the beans are then dried for about 5 to 10 days.

ChocoMuseo

Cody and I were grateful to have the chance to learn more about this versatile bean by participating in a chocolate making workshop at ChocoMuseo in Granada, Nicaragua.

Our class commenced at step 4-the roasting process, where we all gathered around a small clay pan sitting over hot coals. We each took turns stirring the beans, and dancing around the fire (chocolate and dancing? Count me in!)

ChocoMuseo

After the dance-athon, we peeled the outer layer off the cacao beans and began to make a paste with them in our individual mortar and pestle’s.

In between the dancing, mixing, and peeling, 2 different hot drinks were made; a Mayan chocolate chilli drink sweetened with honey, and a Spanish hot chocolate made with milk. We obviously opted out of both, and I was offered an iced cacao liqueur instead (BONUS).

Once the beans were mashed into a paste, we went with a more modern way of processing the chocolate, so a conching machine was used to evenly distribute the cacao butter with the chocolate, and sugar. We ended up with a small bowl of creamy dark chocolate to work with, and were given 2 choices from 7 different ingredients to personalize our bars.

ChocoMuseo

Cody went with cashews and vanilla, and I chose cashews and sea salt.

Our mixture was poured into the moulds and our patience was tested. An hour later, we were presented with creamy and luscious dark chocolate bars.

The fruit of our labour.

Our workshop lasted 2 hours, and it was very entertaining. Kenyn, our chocolate master was extremely lively and energetic.

If you love chocolate and fun, this is the class for you!

ChocoMuseo, Granada offers 4 classes per day, and it is located in the beautiful Mansion De Chocolate. A stunning historic colonial building turned hotel, and spa.

*Our workshop was courtesy of ChocoMuseo, Granada but these opinions are our own*

ChocoMuseo, Granada, Nicaragua
Address: Calle Atravesada, Granada
Website: ChocoMuseo Granada
Email: chocomuseo@gmail.com
Tel: 2552 4678

Comments To This Entry.
  1. Elizabeth March 23, 2016 Reply

    Wow! Looks like lots of fun and that chocolate bar looks delicious! Great video!

    • Giselle and Cody March 24, 2016 Reply

      Yeah we had a great time! So much fun 🙂 and the chocolate bars were sooooo tasty.

  2. Lucia Pereira March 26, 2016 Reply

    LOOKS SOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOD!! Save some for me… 🙂 pleeeease!! 🙂
    I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into getting those cacao beans
    ready for making chocolate…..

    • Giselle and Cody April 1, 2016 Reply

      We have a piece saved for you…..doubt it will be any good by the time we see you in Costa Rica but you can still eat it 🙂

  3. Laura April 1, 2016 Reply

    Great post, it looks sooooo mouthwatering!!!!! 🙂

    Laura

    http://innerblonde.com/

    • Giselle and Cody April 4, 2016 Reply

      Hi Laura, thanks so much. The chocolate was indeed mouthwatering 🙂

  4. Jennifer April 10, 2016 Reply

    This would be very dangerous for me and I would probably get kicked out of the course for eating all the chocolate!! MMMMMMMM can not get enough!! LOL

    • Giselle and Cody April 19, 2016 Reply

      It was definitely hard not to eat all of the chocolate Jennifer.
      We had to control ourselves 🙂

  5. Matthew May 5, 2016 Reply

    I did this exact same course. What a fun day and the people were so great.
    My chocolate was not very good though. I picked rum for all 3 of my ingredients.
    Great video!

    • Giselle and Cody May 12, 2016 Reply

      Hey Matthew, Thanks for the compliment!
      We had a great time at Chocomuseo as well. Maybe rum for all ingredients was a bit much.LOL

  6. Jojo June 29, 2016 Reply

    What a cool workshop! I love the sound of the cashew and sea salt bar.

    • Giselle and Cody June 29, 2016 Reply

      Hey Jojo, how’s it going on your travels?
      It was a great workshop and we definitely had a lot of fun!!

  7. Sandra July 9, 2016 Reply

    This looks like so much fun!!!
    Glad you two put a video together of your time there.

  8. Sandra July 9, 2016 Reply

    That looks like so much fun!!

    Glad you two put a video together of your time there. Really enjoying watching your videos.

    • Giselle and Cody July 10, 2016 Reply

      Hey Sandra,

      Thanks so much, hope you keep watching. We’ll be heading out on a 6 month adventure with Vegantravel.com in less than 2 weeks!

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