When I went down to Costa Rica, I figured I might pick up some tips on making chocolate or learn more about the cacao specific to the region, but I didn't expect to find such deep connections to the fruit and people.
Ita from Cacao Magic Costa Rica welcomed me into his home and we made some of his favorite chocolate sweets with his kids. With the littlest one perched on a stool in front of the stove, we tempered chocolate together for his upcoming cacao ceremony that week. I learned so much about the spiritual and medicinal qualities of cacao, something I hadn't considered before, something I want to learn more about. We shared music together and so. much. chocolate. He kept pulling treats out of his freezer for me to try, his kids constantly asking me what I thought about their papa's creations.
My chocolate adventures in Costa Rica next led me to Mama Cacao Chocolate for a tour of her cacao grove and for a chocolate workshop. She is incredibly knowledgable about cacao and is super passionate about promoting and supporting the farmers and women in chocolate -- something that needs to happen way more often! We talked about our "daily chocolate habits" while we hand rolled truffles and she offered an extensive blind chocolate tasting, thoroughly testing my palate for detecting flavors and percentage.