Instead of material gifts for my birthday, I prefer experiences and memories. So when it was time for my celebration I decided to do a Chocolate making workshop with my boys.
Guatemala is famous for it’s chocolate due to the Maya influence who considered, and still consider, it to be food of the Gods. So what better place to visit than the Choco Museo Tour in Antigua, Guatemala.
What You’ll Do and Learn during a Chocolate Making Workshop:
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve read tons of reviews on ChocoMuseo and even had had a few friends visit them in other countries (it’s a chain with four other locations), and they all loved it. I was a bit worried with my three year old. It’s hard to find stimulating tours for a child that young.
I was in for a great surprise!
The museum is separated into two main rooms. The entrance which is the main area with the storefront. And at the other end is the workshop – making the chocolate area.
And you have the actual museum area where all the ‘education’ takes place.
So let’s start with the ‘tour’.
Pablo, our tour guide, has a gift. Honestly, I believe this made all the difference. He simply LOVES what he does. He is so full of energy and emotion for this topic. Plus, he’s simply a fun guy. So much, that during the tour every few minutes people would walk in off the street (who had the tour before) saying hello to him, and coming up and hugging him.
My family and I take lots of tours I have never seen this before.
The tour itself lasts for about 20 minutes, which for a small child is just right. My boys were captivated the full time.
Now the fun begins – Who likes to make chocolate?
After we learned all we could about Chocolate’s history. It was time to do it ourselves.
1. We could chose – Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate. My oldest braved the Dark while me and my baby went for the milk chocolate. Here you get to chose your ingredients, your molds and go nuts in making it. This is the treat you take home at the end of the tour.
2. The beans. The first step in making chocolate is roasting them. As with everything, it’s an art with just the right moves and temperatures.
3. Then you break it out of it’s shell. The seed and husk is used for specific purposes. Nothing goes to waste.
4. Grind grind grind! This is how the real chocolate paste is made. It’s a super intensive job. And it took us a good ten minutes – and it was hard and tiring. And this very tiny little bit is barely enough for a small sized chocolate bar. Goes to show all that is involved in making the chocolate.
5. Mix it up!
6. Drink it – beware – it’s strong and bitter.
7. This is what hot chocolate with milk looks like. If you add enough sugar it can take away a bit of the bitterness.
8. It’s ready. Our chocolates to take home are done.
Secrets of Chocolate
During the tour you learn a lot of interesting facts about Chocolate.
1. Aztecs used chocolate as currency.
2. Aztecs also used chocolate during wedding ceremonies as a dowry. The richer the family, the more chocolate they would use.
3. Aztecs introduced it to the Spaniards and this is where it all changed.
4. Spaniards eventually brought it to Europe.
5. At one point the Catholic church prohibited chocolate and called it sinful.
6. The Europeans changed the chocolate along with industrial revolution to what we know it now.
7. During colonization and slavery of Africa – slaves were the main reason why chocolate thrived. Plus, you can buy a slave male for 50 choco beans and slave women for 10 choco beans to be used to cultivate chocolate.
8. The real chocolate can not be refrigerated, touched and only truly lasts up to six months.
But for the real fun facts, you have to visit the museum. I would actually say it’s a MUST for families.
My Take On Our Chocolate Tour
Everything I do is rated by how my kids enjoy themselves. During our two hour tour my kids never got bored. They were stimulated, had a great time. Pablo made everyone laugh, and fully enjoy themselves and treated my kids as part of the gang.
There are many tours in Antigua, but I have to say this is one of the best we have done and I recommend for anyone visiting Antigua (with or without kids) to do this tour.
Plus, at the end of the tour they surprised me with a birthday cake!
Information on Antigua, Guatemala’s ChocoMuseo:
Directions and phone number:
4a Calle Oriente #14, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez
You can visit the store and museum anytime you want. It’s actually free to walk around and read all about it.
Choose your Workshop
Beans to Bar
Prices: $24 per adult
$15 per child (5 – 12 years old)
NOTE: The amount of chocolate you end up leaving with at the end of the tour is worth at least five times more than what you paid for the tour. And it’s genuin, delicious, gourmet Chocolate.