Postcard: Choco Museo

After living the Urubamba life for a few months, we are now in full on tourist mode. So, we had to visit the Chocolate Museum in Ollantaytambo. Shout out to my friend Sandra for recommending it–especially for the kids. Though I won’t lie, I had just as much fun as they did.

We started off by putting on aprons and ridiculous hats. And yes, I kept mine on the whole time. I’ve been told that orange is my color.

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Marta and Martin bowed out from the class after the group photo. But I stayed and heard all about the history of chocolate, the components of chocolate, and the health benefits of chocolate. I was enthralled. We each got a handful of the raw cocoa seeds and added them to a clay vessel for the roasting process. We stirred in wide and small circles waiting for the cocoa to pop like popcorn. While we waited, the aroma of chocolate got stronger and stronger. And then it started to pop. We whisked it off the stove and started to peel the outer layer of skin from the cocoa nut inside. Then we all got a mortar and pestle and went to town grinding the heck out of it.

Carmen got to use the more modern grinder too.

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After grinding, we made delicious chocolate tea with the skins, and amazing hot chocolate with the ground chocolate mixed with cloves, cinnamon, mint, and milk. Then the fun part came. We had an array of flavors to choose from, to mix with already prepared milk chocolate.

Then we chose molds and made our own little chocolates. The kids mostly mixed theirs with M&Ms, Oreos, and colored sprinkles, but I used salt from the local salt mines, aji spice, dried local aguaymantu fruit, and cranberries. The chocolate ladies tied our chocolates up in pretty bags with bows and off we went.

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Midway through the chocolate class, Mindy arrived from Machu Picchu with Luke and Hailey. All of us walked through the narrow streets of Ollantaytambo and did a little shopping. The boys played cards on the plaza. We topped it off with a great lunch at Chuncho.

Nice little Sunday.

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