This past weekend I was able to take a weekend to visit Puerto Viejo for a field trip to the mountains and the beach. We woke up bright and early to make sure that we were up and ready to begin a four-hour bus trip right at 7am. We loaded on a bus and began our adventure. A few students were out within minutes while others of us lack the skill to sleep through anything. I of course, do not possess that skill and was awake the entire ride. Then finally we arrived. We pulled up next to a small trail on the side of the road and our adventure began. As we wound up the mountain we learned about plants, trees and the animals that live there. We found several poisonous frogs and snakes too. We even saw a little blob that turned out to be a sloth. We walked over trails of ants and various insects that I would’ve preferred not to have seen. Finally, we made it to the top of the mountain. It was basically a giant tree house and it was amazing. There we ate lunch and learned the art of chocolate making.
So first you have to find the fruit and make sure its ripe. When they’re ripe the individual beans are coated in a white slime that needs to be removed. After de-sliming the beans they are dried out. They already had several bowls of pre-dried beans ready for us. When they’re dried you should be able to crack the beans open. But rather than cracking them open the beans, they were taken to be warmed/cooked. When the beans were still quite hot we were given the task of peeling off the shells. From there we took our warmed beans and began to grind then into almost a paste like constancy. Then we were left with a plate full of ground up warm cocoa beans. Now you’d think that be delicious, but without sugar its surprisingly unpleasant.
So we then set out to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate. A kettle of water was heated and we were all given a cup of hot water. After adding an embarrassing amount of cocoa, sugar and powdered milk we were all left to taste our own creations. Some were better than others. A few e were talking about how their hot chocolate was basically a cup of heaven… Mine tasted slightly like a cup of dirty chocolate water. I definitely still have a preference for store bought hot chocolate but I’m just going to assume I did something wrong.
After our hot chocolate adventure, we took turns cleaning out our cups and then began out journey back down the mountain. By the time we made it down the mountain our shoes were covered in mud and a few unfortunate students had mud stained clothes as well. But the trip was definitely worth the mud we all acquired along the way.