We spent our last morning in Nicaragua at the “Chocolate Factory.” It was located on one of the main drags in Granada. Like every other door we walked through in Granada, there was a whole different world past the entrance.
First, we bumped into Julian, a friend from Spanish School. He was in class with us for a week at CSI and had left to travel through Nicaragua, El Salvador and back. He was there for breakfast with a friend. It was a shocking surprise followed by hugs upon meeting a friendly face at such a random time and location. Traveling has a sweet, strange “kismet” that sincerely amazes me.
We participated in a workshop where we learned how to make chocolate from cacao beans through roasting, grinding, mixing, molding and more.
It was a fun process that we enjoyed with the kids and one other couple. After roasting our cacao beans over a hot, wood burning fire, we cracked and winnowed the beans, removing the husks and separating out the beans.
We made three drinks – the Aztec – (ground cacao beans, honey and water)- yum – followed by the Mayan – (ground cacao beans, honey, water, chili powder and vanilla) – yummier – and finally the Spanish – (ground cacao beans, sugar, milk, vanilla) – yummiest!
We were saved from the 10 hour long process of mixing the cacao paste with sugar, but got to put the end result into a mold with our choice of accompaniments. We returned two hours later to pick up a Coffee Chocolate bar made by Ben, a Peanut Chocolate bar made by Abby, an Almond Chocolate bar made by Matt and two Cashew Chocolate Bars made by Jacob and Erin.
The chocolate bars are stashed safely in the freezer for a later date. We did enough chocolate tasting and testing during the workshop to satisfy the sweet tooth for awhile.