Chocolate lowers your risk of cancer and heart disease, increased blood flow and provides us with much needed Omega-3, which, among other things, acts as an anti-depressant.
I learned how to make chocolate and about its history at Chaqchao on Avenida Santa Catalina in Arequipa. Thanks to my teacher Andreas, the class was educational, entertaining and delicious. They also serve a great breakfast.
Cacao trees are native to the Amazon, and Peru is considered by many to have the best chocolate in the world. Columbus didn’t like it when he tried it, but Cortez did. He learned of it from the Aztec people, for whom chocolate was the main ingredient in a drink fit for their emperor, called Xocolatl. The other ingredients were chili, water and sugar. Some Aztec women spent up to twelve hours a day making chocolate, and only Moctezuma, the high priests, and his wives were allowed to drink it on a regular basis. Soldiers drank their chocolate drink before battle. The Aztec also used cacao beans as money.
Chocolate comes from the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree, so in it’s purest form, chocolate is a fruit. Snickers bars and Hershey’s kisses don’t count, though, as there’s too much other stuff added — another reason to stick to the good stuff and avoid junk food.
There’s the fruit.
First you collect and sort the beans, then roast them.
Then you mash them up with a mortar and pestle
Here’s the oil (white) that has been separated from the rest of the bean, and everything else. Cacao butter, the white stuff, is a wonderful moisturizer, too.
My great teacher, Adrian.
Eventually, it is ground down to the size of one micrometer, a process which takes over four days, is heated and you’re ready to make your chocolates.
You can also make chocolate tea.