We were kindly invited back to the chocolate farm to help Carlos and Gary make chocolate. Our boys were to be the little oompa-loompa workers and it turned out we all had a role to play.
We started by walking through the plantation (think overgrown jungle here) and cutting down the cocao pods from the trees. Slightly easier said than done.
You appear to wave a long piece of bamboo with a knife on the end in the air and detach the ripe pod, which has no desire to fall off. Meanwhile we attempted to catch them or avoid being knocked on the head by them falling or dodge the bamboo pole flailing around…
Together we collected around 200 and then began removing the beans. The deftness with a machete for cutting them open was best left to the locals so we stood and admired the white goey beans which was lovely and sweet to eat.
The beans were then laid between banana leaves to ferment whilst we went to the forest “kitchen” to roast some beans and make nibs from beans already fermented and dried.
The home made roaster (from a gas canister) had stopped spinning so Russell the now-I-can-fix-anything-due to living in a boat, took it apart and created a new vaguely safe switch to allow the gas canister to spin and roast the beans. Phew, and it worked much to Carlos’s delight.
We sorted the good beans for roasting and set it going. Forty minutes later we sampled the freshly roasted beans, delicious! It all smelt like a chocolate factory now.
The boys helped to crush the beans so make nibs and the process was complete. We sampled a handful of scrumptious nibs. Pure cocao, it was truly yummy.
Another fantastic day in paradise and huge thanks to Gary and Carlos for being the greatest hosts and letting our junior oompa-loompas have full reign!