Caribbean cacao growers gear up for the annual chocolate festival

A week from today is the start of the  2014 Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival. It runs three days, Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

Expats who want to see how their chocolate gets from the tree to the palate will have resources from 39 vendor and producers. Most already know that chocolate bars are not picked right off the tree and that the production of fine chocolate is an elaborate process.

“The mission of the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival is to unify local organic farmers, chocolate makers, and chocolatiers, while bringing national recognition to the cultural, historical, and economic value of Costa Rican cacao,” said an announcement. That tradition goes back at least 3,000 years because chocolate in many forms was well developed long before the Spanish arrived.

The textbooks say the first chocolate beverages were brewed in the Valley of México, but current knowledge of ancient times is spotty.

Chocolate drinks could have been invented right there is Puerto Viejo!

Costa Rica’s chocolate makers are working in partnership with the Association of Talamanca for Eco Tourism and Conservation to host Puerto Viejo’s festival, said organizers. The cacao fruit is turned into a variety of products, most prevalently, chocolate, it added.

The festival is free. There also are a number of activities for which tickets are required. The festival Web page is HERE!

Alexia Maizel of  Samaritan Xocolata, a sponsor, said that on Nov. 2, a Sunday, visitors will be able to take tours of chocolate growing operations.

There is a long road from the tree to these delights.

There is a long road from the tree to these delights.

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