I’ve been meaning to post all week about my trip to a local cooperative that makes chocolate from the bean to bar, but somehow I’ve just been too busy relaxing. Now, on this rainy day, I’m finally getting a chance to post some pictures and write a brief description of the visit.
Everyone that I spoke to has assured me that there’s no cocoa growing in Oaxaca, that it grows in Chiapas and Tabasco only. But last week I visited a little cocoa processing operation that makes chocolate from trees grown right here in Oaxaca. The place is called Toltepec and you can check out a cool video on U-tube if you google “Chocolate Toltepec”.
Ilona and I hired a taxi to take us there and after a 2 hour ride, we discovered the place was closed! Luckily our taxi driver found one of the members of the collective and asked him to show us around the facility. To be honest, there wasn’t much to look at. Operations seemed to be on hold. When I asked the man giving us the tour how often they made chocolate, he explained that the chocolate is made on demand. I can imagine that without some marketing, there is a huge disconnect between this little chocolate manufacturing facility in the mountains
and the markets of Oaxaca or elsewhere.
Even though there wasn’t much to see in terms of chocolate being made, it was still cool to be surrounded by cocoa trees. We asked to try the fruit fresh off the tree and it was delicious! Quite sweet and a little tangy at the end. That tanginess must be what gives chocolate its acidity. I asked what type of bean they use in their chocolate (which is really good, by the way) and the man said that they use criollo beans. That must be why it’s so good! I bought a bag of the chocolate and a bag of raw cocoa beans to experiment with when I get home. I have yet to try roasting my own beans-now I have the perfect excuse.