So after an epically delayed flight from Madrid, we have finally made it to Peru for some well-deserved (arguably) downtime before I begin my one-month Spanish immersion course.
On our first day I had a number of options to begin my cultural exposure to Peru but after a testing 36 hour journey from London, I decided that I needed to ease myself into South American life gradually so opted for a visit to the Choco Museum Lima. Here I could not only sample some genuine Peruvian chocolate, but also actually learn how to make some of the sweet heavenly delight from scratch.
My teacher, Gonzales, first explained everything there is to know about making chocolate. This included the amount of coco, sugar, milk powder, and coco butter in one chocolate bar. That actually put me off chocolate a little bit but who am I trying to kid? Being a massive chocoholic I obviously couldn’t keep my hands off the many and varied chocolate samples offered throughout the workshop for a second!
I first learned how to make two types of hot chocolate – the Mayan version and the conquistador version. The conquistador version was made out of ingredients I was familiar with, i.e. coco paste, honey, and milk and was absolutely divine! However the Mayan version had some more, how shall I put it, exotic ingredients. Mayas are thought to have been the first people to have created chocolate out of coco beans and chocolate was actually used as a currency to buy things including slaves :-/
The hot chocolate drink was only prepared by the Mayans for special ceremonies and contains coco paste, water, chili powder, honey and human blood, usually that of a virgin. Now I am usually not one to turn down a local delicacy having previously sampled chicha in Ecuador (jungle beer fermented with saliva) and tarantulas in Cambodia – but human blood was pushing even my limits. Luckily, the Choco Museum Lima was kind to me and let me use a powder substitute instead of virgin blood. Phew!
After sampling the delicious (and blood-free) hot chocolates it was finally time to make my own chocolate pralines. I had dozens of ingredients to choose from for the fillings and I decided to go for some unusual ingredients such as coca powder (from crushed coca leaves, not the white stuff, in case you were wondering), sea salt, quinoa, and chili powder. The chocolate pralines were absolutely delicious, even if I say so myself!
So that was the day I made some of the best chocolate ever produced by humankind (in my humble opinion). Have you ever made your own chocolate, and if so did you enjoy your own produce as much as I did? 🙂