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A chocolate life – YES lab journey and memories

While having a cup of hot chocolate, I close my eyes and fall into memories. I remembered my trip to a chocolate production farm – Como llegar, in Talamanca Region, Costa Rica during YES lab (here, here and here you can find previous blogs on this topic) in 2017.

We went there to see an indigenous tribe Bribri (just few people left), who conserves the ancient traditions, recipes, language and unique culture, making their living with tourism. The tourist agency is led by the woman, who decided to preserve and share her culture with others, creating opportunities for the local community.

At the beginning, when we arrived, we made a trip around the farm, during which, we discovered ancient traditions, natural ingredients for make-up, learned few words from the Bribri language and other ways of communication of the tribe. We were quite lucky with the weather and experienced a heavy tropical rain, but it didn’t disturb us since we were covering ourselves with “organic” umbrellas.

Then we went through the whole traditional process of preparation of the chocolate. And I am going to bring you through this process as well, sharing with you the ancient receipt of chocolate making.

Are you ready?

1) First, you have to extract and dry the cocoa seeds.

In the picture you can see the cocoa fruit and the drying seeds. Sincerely speaking, it was the first time for me in Costa Rica, when I saw it. By the way, the white membrane has sweet and sour taste, a very nice one.

2) After that, they should be roasted on fire, here it is done using firewood. While cooking/rosting, you should mix them periodically.

3) Then, the seeds should be crushed.

They do it all by hands and we did it as well. There is such a beauty in this simplicity, such a warm energy from the food made by people from the products, produced in the same farm.

4) Separating the husk.

Crushed seeds should be shaken by a sophisticated movement of the experienced hands.

5) Then, they should be grinded/milled.

You are close to the final step! This is the ready chocolate you can enjoy, adding on strawberry, banana or other fruits. Mmm…..For example, we tried this chocolate with the addition of bananas from this organic farm. It’s a truly delicious combination: the bitterness of the chocolate with natural sweetness of banana.

Finally, you mix it in the hot water, adding sugar or milk according to your preferences. We drunk it in the cocoa shells.

No need to mention that it was the best chocolate I’ve ever tried, despite the fact that for most of us, it was the first time we made it :-)

Therefore, now you own the secret traditional recipe, so you can make chocolate by your own or, following us, make a trip to Como llegar and receive your own unforgettable experience being guided by the locals.

For me it was one of the brightest events of the year and an unforgettable experience. I would like to close this post by wishing you all a “chocolate life”, full of pleasure, growth and fulfillment.

Picture credit: Iana Perevoshchikova