If there is one thing almost everyone adores in the world, it is Chocolate. The cacao bean thrives in Latin America and has done so since ancient times, dating back 3,000 years or more. The local people of Peru have enjoyed hot Chocolate long before it hit the chic cafés of the western world. In reality, the origins of Chocolate can be traced back to the Amazon basin of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, which offer the perfect growing conditions for this delicious bean. Suppose chocolate travel is your idea of an incredible vacation. Why not combine the impressive tours of Inca archaeological sites with a chocolate-making class in the Inca capital of Cusco for a more original Cusco half-day tour?
Cusco province boasts a unique jungle region where some of the best organic cacao in the world grow naturally. The cacao plant bears large yellowish to reddish pod-like fruits with deliciously creamy white flesh. The flesh is full of tiny, long brown seeds. These seeds are the part of the bean that is toasted and ground for use in chocolate production. It's said that sometimes the cacao takes on a hint of mango or olive flavor if those plants are cultivated nearby. Cacao trees are relatively environmentally friendly to grow, as they are shade crops that help to protect the vital top soils of The Amazon, a vital habitat to many smaller tree varieties and animal species. The Spanish took Chocolate to Europe from South America and added sugar to the mix for a sweeter taste.
The Cusco Chocolate Museum is not what you would call a typical "museum," and this museum offers a very hands-on experience. Even if you don't participate in one of the chocolate-making workshops, you will learn a lot about the history of Chocolate, from the Mayan people to the conquistadors who took over South America. In the Choco museum, there is a section about the harvest of cacao beans, to the drying of the cacao pods. You learn what products people can make from cacao (like powder, paste, and butter). All visitors are offered free samples of Chocolate, flavored liquors, homemade marmalades, cacao tea, and more. Even if you don't buy a single thing, visiting the shop is a serious treat. The friendly staff is happy to share their knowledge and tasty, delicious Chocolate on this Cusco half-day tour.
In this informative and hands-on workshop, you will learn about Peruvian cacao's growing regions. Then you will make your Chocolate, from roasting the beans to pouring the melted Chocolate into their molds. Experiences are available at the Choco Museo in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Lima.
More of a truffle person? You can make those, too! Choco Museo also has an excellent truffle-making workshop, where you'll learn to make ganache and bonbons. Of course, you'll learn a lot about Peruvian cacao during the class and have numerous samples to try throughout the class—an excellent and delicious option for a more leisurely day while on a trip to Peru.
The Choco Museo Cusco is also an excellent place to grab delectable souvenirs. A responsible and authentic gift item to take home has to be Peruvian Chocolate. In the gift shop, you will discover some unique Peruvian chocolate combinations with local delights. Some of the options include dark, milk, and white chocolate bars. Either pure or with toppings like almonds, salt, coffee, red pepper, aguaymanto, coca, coconut, brazil nuts, ginger, and orange. T-Shirts and other Choco Museo gifts are also available with quotes like "Save the Planet, It's the Only One with Chocolate"….. they're not wrong!
Peruvian Chocolate is healthy and yummy and is considered one of the many Peruvian superfoods. Chocolate in its raw form is where these health benefits are most apparent. This wonderful delight comprises proteins and fibers that aid digestion and muscle development. It is packed with trace elements like Potassium and Magnesium, which help neurological and metabolic function. However, possibly the most notable benefit is its mood-enhancing properties. Thanks to its high content of theobromine and phenylethylamine, the consumption of Peruvian Chocolate improves mood and increases energy levels.
Book your Cusco half-day tour of a chocolate-making class with Valencia Travel here, and learn about a more delicious way of life and chocolate travel. Is there a tastier way to explore the country on a trip to Peru? I think not!