The best kind of gift that anyone can give me a memorable experience. That’s exactly what I got this year for my birthday; my boys and I signed up for a celebration at a chocolate making workshop.
Being a place with such a strong Maya influence, Guatemala is famous for its chocolate. It is still considered by the modern and ancient Maya as the food of their gods. Because of this, there aren’t many places than Guatemala that are better if you want to learn about chocolate, more specifically Choco Museo in Antigua Guatemala.
What You’ll Do and Learn During a Chocolate Making Workshop:
To be honest with you, even after reading many reviews that said great things about Choco Museo, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. I was also a bit worried that it wouldn’t be a fun thing to do for my 3 year old. It’s hard to find something to keep someone, as young as he is entertained and happy.
It truly surprised me in a positive way!
There are two particular sections of the museum. The main area, with a store front, is right at the entrance along with the workshop where you are taught how to make chocolate. The second room/area is the actual museum, where all the ‘education’ takes place.
Let’s talk about the “Tour”:
The first thing that needs to be mentioned is Pablo, our guide. He was a gift! His attitude made all the difference. You can tell that he LOVES what he does. He is so full of energy and puts so much emotion into his work that my boys didn’t get bored – ever. Plus, he’s simply a fun guy. He does his job so well that during the tour, people who had the tour before would walk in from the street just to say hello to him. This happened every few minutes.
My family and I have taken a lot of tours, so it is not that easy to impress us anymore, but I was impressed.
The educational part of the tour is 20 minutes long, perfect for small kids. Plus, because of Pablo, my boys were captivated during the whole thing.
After we learned all sorts of things about chocolate’s history, it was our time to make some.
Now, let’s talk about the workshop. Who likes to make chocolate?
1. What’s Your Flavor? You get to decide whether you want to make dark chocolate or milk chocolate. My baby went for the milk chocolate while my brave older boy chose dark. They chose their ingredients and molds before going crazy in making the treat you take home at the end of the tour.
2. The beans – The first thing that has to be done is roasting the chocolate beans. Just as the rest of the steps, it is an art in itself. You need to do the right moves and have the right temperature. Then you divide the seed and husk. They are both used, but for different things. Nothing goes to waste!
3. Grind, grind, grind – This is how you make chocolate paste, and I must add: “is is a pretty intense part of the work” and takes around 10 minutes.
4. Mix it up! – It’s time to add some more ingredients and liquefy it.
5. Drink it – But be careful, it’s strong and bitter, just as the Aztec kings drank it long ago.
6. Milk Chocolate – If you add enough sugar and milk they can take some of the bitterness away.
7. A few more steps and it’s ready to take home.
8 Fun Secrets of Chocolate
During the tour you learn a lot of interesting facts about chocolate.
1. Chocolate was used as currency by the Aztecs
2. It was also used as dowry by Aztecs–it was a sign of richness.
3. The Aztecs were also the ones that introduced these seeds to the Spaniards.
4. It all changed when the Spaniards brought it to Europe.
5. At first the Catholic Church prohibited chocolate because they thought it was sinful.
6. True chocolate is nothing like the one we know now. Europeans changed and sweetened it.
7. During slavery and colonization of Africa you could buy a male slave for 50 cocoa beans and 10 for a woman.
8. Traditional chocolate cannot be refrigerated or touched and only truly lasts up to six months.
For even better, more interesting facts you have to visit the museum. I’d definitely say that it is a MUST for families while you make your way through Guatemala.
My Take On Our Chocolate Tour
The tours I go on are rated by how much fun my boys have. During the two hours that this choco adventure lasted they never got bored. They had fun the whole time and Pablo helped to make everyone fully enjoy themselves and treated my kids as part of the gang.
Out of the tours that we have done in Antigua this is one of the best. I highly recommend anyone visiting Antigua (with or without kids) to make some time to visit Choco Museo.
Plus, at the end of the tour they surprised me with a birthday cake!
Antigua, Guatemala’s Choco Museo
4a Calle Oriente #14, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez
If you don’t want to take the full tour it’s free to walk around and read all about it.
Choose a 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 genuine, delicious, gourmet chocolate.