We dropped by the museum on our second day in Cusco and booked in for the afternoon class. It cost 70 Soles, which isn’t cheap, especially by Peruvian standards, however it was worth every penny.
The class was led by a super happy guy called Pedro. He wore a Choco apron, a matching chef’s hat and the worlds cheekiest grin.
The 2 hour course begun with history of cacao, and how we actually get chocolate. We learnt about the 3 different kinds of Cacao fruits and the countries that produce and also eat the most chocolate.
FUN FACT: Switzerland eats the most chocolate per year, at a whopping 119 100g bars per person!! Wow!
(Australia was 59 bars per person, still a staggering amount!)
Also the Ivory Coast produces roughly a third of the whole worlds cacao per year, but this is arguably of a lower quality than that produced in the americas where the cacao plant is native to.
After learning about the history we headed over to the work bench and begun by tasting some of the raw cacao beans. They are very bitter, and as such is why dark chocolate had a more bitter flavour, it has a higher concentration of cacao beans (and less sugar etc..).
We then roasted some beans and then peeled them, before crushing them with a mortar and pestle to make a paste.
The peel of our beans was used to make a delicious chocolatey smelling, cacao tea. It seriously smells just like rich buttery chocolate, but with a very mild flavour.
Our paste was then used to create 2 delicious hot chocolate drinks!
The first drink was Kawaka, a hot chocolate drink enjoyed by the Mayan’s. The ingredients were ground cacao beans, chilli powder, honey and hot water. It was super spicy and chocolatey, and was delicious, albeit a little hot. The Mayans also used to add blood to their hot chocolate. A luxury we decided against.
The next drink was European hot chocolate, consisting of again ground cacao beans, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks and milk. Again it was delicious. Pedro cheekily also nearly tricked us into thinking we were drinking Cuy (guinea pig) milk in the hot chocolate. But seriously, imagine milking all those tinny little critters… Anyway.
As it takes around 24 hours to mix chocolate until there is the right moisture content for a bar to set, obviously we didn’t follow the same mix all the way through. However we were explained the next steps and were shown some chocolate mixing before being given a “here’s one we prepared earlier” batch.
We each got to choose a mould to make our chocolates in and were given more than 20 different ingredients we could add to our chocolates.
I opted for a mould with 16 small chocolates on it so that I could make a variety of flavours. To spice up my chocolates I made some with marshmallows, coconut, m & m’s, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, 100’s & 1000’s , quinoa and more. Not all in the one chocolate might I add.
We each completed our trays, poured our desired chocolate over the top (milk or dark) and set them in the fridge to cool. We had to come back an hour after the class to pick them up.
We had an awesome class and the chocolates were (and are) delicious, I’m eating some now.
We would HIGHLY recommend splurging and doing the chocolate workshop. Pedro made it lots of fun and the fact that you get to take home a lot of chocolate only sweetens the deal.
Next we’re heading to the Sacred Valley to visit various ruins and a few little towns!