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.

choco museum lima bag

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!

choco museum lima chocolate contents

The jars show the breakdown of coca paste, coco butter, milk powder, and sugar for dark, milk, and white chocolate respectively. Note to self – no more white chocolate!

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!

choco museum lima roasting coco beans

Step 1: Roast the coco beans

choco museum lima coco beans

Step 2: Peel and grind the coco beans into a paste

choco museum lima coco tree and tammy stirring cocoa

Step 3: Mix the coco paste with the different ingredients and enjoy your hot chocolate

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!

choco museum lima ingredients

Step 1: Melt the chocolate paste and choose a filling

choco museum lima filling the forms

Step 2: Fill the mold with the chocolate melt and the filling of your choice

choco museum lima finished chocolates

Step 3: Refrigerate the mixture for 15 mins and then enjoy the chocolate pralines

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? 🙂

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

12 Thoughts on “The sweet side of Lima – chocolate, coca, and the blood of a virgin

  1. What a cool experience! Particularly after you’ve spent so long in Asia – it’s not exactly the best place to find good chocolate. As a fellow chocoholic, I’d love to try making my own someday!
    Jessica recently posted…The Strange World of Tokyo’s Animal CafesMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm said:

      Yes, I found it hard to find decent chocolate in Asia too. This one was divine, as it was straight from the source and so fresh.

  2. Those chocolates look so good. I’ve always wanted how to learn how to bake one.
    David Ryan recently posted… Premium Membership – $1My Profile

  3. We are really excited to try this when we pass through Lima in April, it looks delicious!

  4. Yikes – the blood of a virgin!
    I’m excited to try Peruvian chocolate – yummo!
    Emily recently posted…Majestic PalenqueMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm said:

      Yeah, not my favourite ingredient. 🙂 Luckily that’s only a thing for the indigenous peoples now and I could use a substitute!

  5. Keara B. on January 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm said:

    Just found your blog and I’ve really been enjoying reading about your experiences! Sounds like your chocolate-making experience was a lot of fun. You are a brave soul with your culinary adventures. I’m not sure I would have been able to stomach the Ecuadorian chicha you described!

    • Tammyonthemove on January 12, 2014 at 11:58 pm said:

      I am glad you found us! 🙂 Sometimes overcoming my fears or disgust of certain foods actually really positively surprised me. For example the spider tasted just like chicken.

  6. Very interesting! I skipped Lima. I got straight off my bus from Huaraz and onto another to Huacachina. Perhaps I should have stuck around!
    Arianwen recently posted…Outback Ballooning in Alice SpringsMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm said:

      Lima is quite a pleasant city with a nice climate. It is not as exciting as Cusco fir example, but I quite liked it for a few days. The food is gorgeous too. Had my first ceviche encounter there and it was so fresh and yummy. Next time! 🙂

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