Chocolate always brings a smile to my face! And I don’t know anyone that does not enjoy some type of chocolate!
When I was young, I never really thought about chocolate as a food. I never knew that it came from a plant. I believed that chocolate came from Hershey, Pennyslvania!
Chocolate comes from a tree?
Several years ago, I wanted to learn more about making chocolate and purchased a book that talked about the history of chocolate and chocolate making. And that is when I first learned about the cacao plant. I was intrigued.
The agriculture behind chocolate
While volunteering at a local organic farm in Long Island, I became very interested in understanding more about where our food comes from and how it is actually grown. My interest in local agriculture and curiosity to learn more about the origins of chocolate, took me to the jungles of Central America in Belize. A Dandelion Chocolate trip to Punta Gorda, Belize, delivered an inspiring hands on experience and education. I learned all about real chocolate, the cacao plant, the chocolate industry, how chocolate is made, and Belizean agriculture. After the trip to Belize, I had a whole new appreciation for real chocolate.
I knew that the trip to Belize was not my last chocolate adventure. A year later, I found myself visiting a friend’s 100+ year old organic cacao farm in the Dominican Republic and visiting various bean to bar factories to learn more about the chocolate-making process. I can’t get enough and continue planning trips to cacao farms around the world. When you have the opportunity to experience where your favorite food comes from, it creates a whole new level of appreciation.
Connect to your chocolate
People always catch me reading labels in the chocolate aisle at Whole Foods Market. I love to taste new bean to bar chocolate bars from different cacao origins. I enjoy reading the inspiring stories about the cacao farmers and chocolate makers. Bean to bar chocolate is not readily available in traditional stores and supermarkets, (even the Whole Foods Market chocolate section is pretty limited), but there are plenty of online resources once you taste test and fall in love with real chocolate! Schedule a chocolate tasting at your next event, seminar, or fundraiser… and experience real chocolate!
For the love of chocolate,
To read and view pictures and video from my cacao travels, click here.