Costa Rica Chocolate Tour Photos: How to Make (Healthy) Chocolate!

Sifting Cacao Shells

Did I know somewhere in the back of my mind that chocolate originally comes from cocoa which originally comes from cacao which must somehow come from a plant? Sure. But until a recent chocolate tour of Rancho Raices, a family farm in Costa Rica, I didn’t entirely understand how chocolate can actually be made like it originally was: pure, healthy (full of antioxidants and healthy fats), by hand, from a fruit.

Tired of buying Hershey’s and want to make it yourself? Step 1: Grow cacao fruit. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Costa Rica Chocolate Tour
Step 2: Extract the seeds from the cacao fruit. No, child, that does not taste like soft-serve, but thanks for licking it first.
Cacao Fruit

Step 3: Dry the seeds in a tropical climate. (You might have to move to one first.)

rancho raices cacao beans roasting

Step 4: Roast the seeds perfectly. Is this like roasting coffee beans? I have no idea. I should have asked more questions from the good folks at Rancho Raices. Maybe I better go back for a refresher course…

Roasting Cacao

Step 5: Now we have cocoa beans. Crush them just enough to remove the shells. Do not crush them to smithereens like my super-strong husband did while our hosts were too polite to yell “Stop! You are killing the chocolate!”

Crushing Cacao Beans

Step 6: Sift the shells from the beans by gently shaking them in an ancient manner. It helps if you are a grandmother doing this with an adorable six-year-old granddaughter by your side.

Sifting Cacao Shells

Step 7: Hand grind the beans, which was by far the most interesting step of the process to my boys, who are all about machinery and competition. If you’re wondering if we had to bust out the timer for everybody’s turn at this grueling job, the answer is yes.

rancho raices costa rica

Step 8: Re-grind the cocoa until it becomes a paste, thick with cocoa butter.

Costa Rica Chocolate Farm

Step 9: If you are trying to please American children instead of eating healthy, antioxidant rich dark chocolate, add powdered milk and sugar.

Adding milk to chocolate

Step 10: Chocolate for everyone!

rancho raices chocolate tour

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costa rica chocolate tour