Today in Cusco, we had the opportunity to spend time at Chocomuseo: A Chocolate Museum and Workshop in Cusco, Peru. In addition to a café run from their store—including chocolate-filled beverages, desserts, and sweets— the owners of Chocomuseo also offer chocolate-making classes for its visitors. What I most enjoyed about these chocolate-making classes is that they 1) teach you HOW to make chocolate, and 2) give you an appreciation for the work that goes into making chocolate, and 3) allow you to take home a bag of chocolate that you make.
If you are interested in making different forms of chocolate at home, here are the following steps we took at Chocomuseo to make both European Chocolate Tea and Incan & Mayan Chocolate Tea:
1) Take cacao beans and place them into a skillet or pan above the stove. We used a particular skillet/pan that is native to Peru and is called a “Quechua”’; however, a regular skillet/pan should work just fine. (Depending on how many you have) Mix them in the skillet/pan for approximately 2-3 minutes. Don’t let them burn!
2) Take the cacao beans out of the Quechua, and press them individually on the center to take the shells/outsides off of them. Press on the center of the beans and twist in order to get the outsides off easily. Don’t throw the shells away; instead, set them to the side.
3) Mix the beans (without shells) in a small bowl with “strong friction.” The goal is not to smash the beans; however, you want the beans to resemble a smooth consistency.
4) After doing this, add the shells (removed earlier) to a teapot with sugar and boiling water. Allow all of these ingredients to sit in the teapot together for approximately 2 minutes.
5) Using a spoon, scrape all of the leftover chocolate from the bowl and pour into a new bowl (to combine all of the chocolate into one bowl).
6) Pour the tea from the teapot into a pouring dispenser, and add water, chili pepper, honey, the chocolate form the bowl, and mix them all together for the Aztec/Mayan version of chocolate. According to one of the employees at Chocomuseo, The Mayans and Aztecs used this method to create chocolate. Chocolate was often used for rituals (in combination with blood). The Mayans and Aztecs never used milk in their chocolate recipe.
7) To create the European chocolate recipe, follow all of the same steps. However, instead of adding the chili pepper, honey, water, and chocolate together and mixing, you add chocolate, “palitos de canera”, 5 “clavos de olor”, and 4 spoons of sugar, and boiling milk. In my opinion, this version of the dish was much tastier.
We had a great time today at Chocomuseo, and I would recommend it to chocolate lovers out there. For those who might not be as into the chocolate, they also run a cafe from their store, which has incredible coffee beverages and desserts.