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Chocolate is Always a Good Idea

Every couple of weeks, our CEA site directors, Maggie and Leo, plan small cultural excursions that they take all of the students in our program on. These day trips are the perfect break from our normal daily routines in San José, and a chance to experience parts of Costa Rica that we may have overlooked when traveling by ourselves. Luckily, we have Maggie and Leo here to guide us to these great local spots.
 Some of the chocolate bars for sale at Sibú. There were so many different types, and they are all 100% organic!

Last week we had the amazing opportunity to visit Sibú Chocolate. In 2007, master chocolatiers, environmentalists, and owners, Julio Fernandez and George Soriano opened Sibú Chocolate. Since opening, they have been recognized for making the only 100% organic fine chocolate in all of Costa Rica. We were all riveted as they gave us a brief history of chocolate, discussed the impact that cocoa has on Costa Rica, Latin America and the world as a whole, and shared their journey opening Sibú with us. From the origins of chocolate, to the transformation that chocolate has taken as of today (do you know what white chocolate actually contains?!), we learned so much from Julio and George.

When we arrived, we were all greeted with a cup of decadent hot chocolate to sip as we wandered around taking in all the photos on the walls and watching the local artisans at work on some beautiful truffles in the kitchen. Once we were settled at our tables, we were served a delicious meal that was bursting with local flavors and fresh ingredients. We all ate every morsel of the outstanding food set in front of us, and I think I am still dreaming about that tomato and avocado tortilla soup.

 Here is the tasting plate featuring the best and most unique truffles I have ever eaten!

While all of the food was clearly delicious and the history lesson was incredibly interesting and enlightening, the chocolates themselves are what stole the show. After lunch we were all given a plate with six chocolates, a cocoa bean, and a cup of coffee. We were guided through Julio and George’s presentation by the chocolates on our plate and the story they each told. We experienced the pure bitterness of a raw cocoa bean, and were taught to taste each chocolate using all five of our senses.

I’m not sure that I would have ever come across Sibú in my own research about Costa Rica, but it has been one of the coolest cultural experiences I have had since I arrived. I hope I get the opportunity to return to Sibú again before I return to the United States because I MUST share this amazing chocolate with my family and friends at home. Never will I ever look at a piece of chocolate the same way again and that’s a good thing!

¡Pura Vida!

Peyton Black is the CEA MOJO in San José, Costa Rica. She is currently a Junior at College of Charleston.

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