Sheila, owner of the farm, showed us the chocolate laboratory in Playas del Coco.
All the machines used in the lab, are powered by photo-voltaic panels, placed on theroof.
We spent a day in the lab to discover the secrets of artisan chocolate.
We are surrounded by chocolate perfume while the super maitre chocolatier Silvia explained us every steps.
-HARVEST TO DRYING: Cacao seed has to be harvested, fermented and dried at the sun.
-TOASTED TO CRACKED: The seed is toasted to reveal its real strength, then cooled down and cracked in small pieces. Depending on where the sees was harvested and dried, the taste and quality change a lot!
-CLEANING: Those pieces still contains peels so they are put in a special wooden panel, with a blower, that separates the light peels (garbage) from the heavy seed.
-COCOA BUTTER: Now you can extract the cocoa butter. A part of the seeds goes in this process, but the main part is refined to produce the cocoa paste: the main ingredient.
-MIXING:In the next step, a millstone works for almost 2 days to mix all the ingredients. This delicious dark paste emanated an amazing perfume.
-RESTING. The chocolate need to rest for a few days in a baking tin (according to the type of recipes).
-MELTING: Next step is the most delicate: the maitre chocolatier cracks the big block of chocolate into pieces and put them in a special machine. It melts the chocolate at 50° and then it cool down at 32°.
-MOLDING : The dark liquid is poured into the mold. The temperature is crucial, otherwise chocolate will not come out from the mold.
-COOLING DOWN: The mold is put into the refrigerator. After this last rest step, the block is ready to be removed from the mold, packed and sold in the boutique.
-TASTING: We tasted the bar and other products, like bon bons and truffles. They are filled with coconut, cherries, balsamic vinegar, rum, and other specialties. The taste of the chocolate reveals the quality of the ingredient.
We spent nice days with Sheila, her family, the maitre chocolatier and all the Cata Chocolate staff, who gave us the chance to learn about chocolate and the good way of living.
If you visit Costa Rica, go to Cata Chocolate Lab in Playas del Coco. You will discover the secrets of the artisan chocolate!