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Chocolate: food of the gods | Chocolate Factory in Cozumel

Chocolate: food of the gods

Make your own Mayan chocolate from scratch. Discover the process of making chocolate from bean to bar inside this great little chocolate factory in Cozumel. Throughout the tour you will taste the different flavors of cocoa during the process and the Mayan drink made with the original ingredients.

chocolate-stages

The visit to the small and familiar chocolate factory consists of 3 parts:

1-. Museum history of chocolate in Mayan times:

A brief journey through time to discover the importance of the cocoa bean for the Mayas.

cocoa-and-Mayas

Cacao was already cultivated by the Mayas more than 2,500 years ago. The name “cacao” derives from the Nahuatl word cacahoatl or cacahuatl, meaning “bitter juice”, and “chocolate” derives from the Mayan word chocol, meaning “hot” and “water”, respectively.

In the 18th century, the naturalist Carolus Linnaeus, based on Mayan and Aztec beliefs, named the cacao tree with the scientific name Theobroma cacao, whose Latin meaning is “food of the gods”. This tree is a symbol of abundance, rulership and ancestry, and serves as a metaphorical conduit through which the souls of humans and the gods travel through earth, heaven and hell.

The Aztecs learned from the Maya the cultivation and use of cocoa. They called cacahuat to cocoa and xocolatl to the aromatic drink obtained from its fruits. At that time, xocolatl was appreciated as a restorative to give strength and awaken the sexual appetite, treat fatigue, increase the weight of the malnourished, stimulate the nervous system of the apathetic, exhausted or weak, improve digestion and stimulate the kidneys.

2-.Create your own chocolate

To prepare it, the Mayas ground the cocoa beans until they were reduced to powder and also added seeds or corn. The resulting powder was mixed with cold water and stirred until the foam rose.

cacao-ground-on-metate

According to the Chocolate Museum in Uxmal, Yucatán, the froth of the drink was directly related to the purity of the person who carried out the task; if the chocolate did not froth, the person was impure, and the more froth he produced, the greater the purity of his soul. The fate of those who failed to froth the drink was sacrifice.

Here we make the traditional drink, as they did in Mayan times. Cacao mixed with some spices, like the ones we have here in front of us, and with hot water. Here we have the cacao seed with the pulp covering it. That pulp is used to ferment the cacao, the seed is put in wooden boxes and left to rest for three to eight days. During this time, the pulp decomposes as it has sugar, makes an alcohol and is fermented. This cocoa without the shell, we are going to grind it. Using the metate we will grind until we have the powder, the fine powder. If the cocoa continues to be ground, the seed releases the fat and cocoa butter is created. This paste was used since pre-Hispanic times to treat wounds.

frothed-chocolate

In the chocolate factory you will live the experience of grinding cocoa beans to transform them into cocoa paste and then into chocolate. You can take it home to prepare a delicious ancestral drink. Undoubtedly, another cultural secret of Cozumel.

3-. Tasting throughout the visit.

Cacao was the second most revered plant for the Maya, only after corn, and practically all that is known of the uses and elaboration of foods and beverages based on it comes from hieroglyphic inscriptions on ceramics that have survived to the present day.
The inscriptions not only indicated that a cup or vessel was used for cocoa, but also engraved with the flavor: bitter, sweet, fruity, cocoa mixed with corn and even cocoa seasoned with chili.

chili-chocolate

During your visit you will taste different flavors of chocolate, from the roasted bean to the final product, you will also be able to observe through windows, the elaboration of chocolate and its packaging process. Totally accessible for the whole family.

Each intimate 90-minute tour starts on the hour (09:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m.) and costs $25 USD per person. As this is a small factory, space is limited, so they request online reservations with payment in advance. Regardless of whether you have booked a tour, you can visit the factory store to purchase chocolate souvenirs.

chocolate-preparation

Pharmacological properties of chocolate

As a bonus, here are several beneficial effects of cocoa consumption, as it is an antioxidant, vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, anti-adhesive for white blood cells, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-diabetic and “bad” cholesterol reducer.

Chocolate is rich in components with euphoriant and stimulating properties. One of these components is phenylethylamine, which acts on the brain causing emotional well-being; it also activates the nervous system.

dark-chocolate-with-spearmint

It is beneficial to achieve greater activity and physical performance, because it possesses alkaloids such as caffeine and theobromine, which tend to excite the nervous system, promoting activity.

Recently it has been discovered that chocolate has antioxidant qualities. Consumed in moderation, it can be useful for cardiovascular health and as prevention of heart disease.

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