chocolate

Cancun isn’t just for resort lovers. What if your sweet tooth could be turned into a vacation? Cancun isn’t just for resort lovers anymore. How does a chocolate adventure sound? It would go something like this:

Pack your bags for warm weather.

Fly into Cancun (stay a day or two and enjoy the beaches) then travel to Merida (about a four hour drive from Cancun)

Take Chef David Sterling’s Chocolate Indulgence class. It is a day of chocolate lore, cooking and eating led by Chef David Sterling who is an expert on Yucatan and Maya.

The class opens with fresh churros that are dipped into special melted chocolate.  Then class participants peel cacao beans and prepare chocolate de mesa which is cacao turned into a fudge like paste and rolled in cocoa powder to be used in drinks and moles. Then the tour begins. First stop is Uxmal a massive Maya ruins. Next, the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum which is six thatched expedition huts full of chocolate lore and samplings of Mayan hot chocolate. The meat of the tour is Tikul, a 750 acre cacao plantation. There you’ll see how cacao is processed.

Spend the next ten days or so touring the Yucatan from Tolum to Valladolid to Celestun all with a focus on the cacao bean.

A few little pieces of history: The Maya first came up with the word “chocolate” for the drink. Chokoh means”hot” and ha means “water”. Maya hot chocolate was a concoction of ground up cacao with chile, vanilla and other spices. The Mayans thought chocolate was a gift from the gods (true). But when Spain’s explorer Cortes brought the Mayan hot chocolate back to Spain the Spanish hated it. One conquistador called it “a bitter drink for pigs.”  That’s when they added sugar and the rest is history.