DIY chocolate – a trip to El Quetzal
One of the highlights of this year’s holiday camp was a trip to „El Quetzal“, a local chocolate producer and restaurant to learn how to make chocolate:
To begin with, we looked at the different kinds of cocoa plants, learned about the origen and history of chocolate production and harvested a cocoa pod from a tree to try the raw cocoa beans. The children were very surprised to find out that chocolate beans taste nothing like the chocolate they can buy in the store. This because it follows a long process of fermentation, roasting, grinding and sweetening – all steps which the children saw or performed themselves on the tour.
In Spanish, the cocoa seeds are called „almendras de cacao“ or „cocoa almonds“. This name describes the taste of the roasted cocoa beans quite well. After removing the outer husks from the roasted beans the children ground the beans into a chocolate paste which had everyones mouth watering! Afterwards the children added just the right amount of sugar to the cocoa paste before finally tasting their very own chocolate!
At the end everybody was sure of one thing: „We want to try this at home!“. Everyone received a farewell gift of their own cocoa bean to plant in their gardens so that later they could make their own chocolate at home.
A big THANK YOU to José Meza, the owner of „El Quetzal“ for inviting us and sharing his secrets with us!