The Beach Chocolate Factory
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One morning, five chocoholics headed to the Beach Chocolate Factory at the Village Community Center in Brasilito with dreams of digging their hands into freshly made chocolate. Thanks to owner and chocolatier Henrik Bodholdt, dreams do come true.
Henrik, a chocolatier with 10 years experience, welcomed us to a table on the lawn outside his store where our hands-on chocolate workshop began. Quickly it became clear that while we all LOVE chocolate, none of us really knew much about chocolate. Through an interactive presentation, we learned the origin, history, nature and culture of cacao and chocolate. Yes kids, chocolate really does grow on trees. Bodholdt’s passion for his craft is evident through his engaging explanations.
We broke into eager smiles when the hands-on portion of the workshop began and the guest star …drum roll, please…a ripe cacao pod made its appearance. It looked like yellow squash but inside it was filled with cacao beans encased in a sticky white pulp. The pulp was surprisingly sweet, although the nut known as a nib was slightly bitter. Next, we helped ourselves to a handful of roasted cacao beans and were instructed to peel the papery shell off by hand. Each of us took a turn grinding the beans using a silver hand grinder clamped to the table. As the brown paste filled the bowl, the air was filled with an intoxicating aroma of raw chocolate.
After choosing from various fresh ingredients like shredded coconut, almonds, unrefined sugar cane and chili pepper flakes, Henrik encouraged us to put our hands in the paste. Laughter and squeals went around the table as we began to squeeze and knead chocolate through our fingers, rolling it into balls with our hands. A memory of finger painting in kindergarten came to mind. Someone mentioned the episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy could not keep up with the conveyer belt at the chocolate factory. Sitting outside under a clear sky with a slight breeze, nibbling on chocolate handcrafted by oneself is at the top of the list of every chocoholic’s pura vida activities.
Before bidding our wonderful host adios, we stopped in the store to browse and buy chocolate all handmade onsite by Henrik and staff. There was a nice assortment to choose from, something for everyone. Like the Upala bar, made with 85% cacao for dark chocolate lovers or, the Cañas bar, made with 40% white chocolate and cacao nibs. One shopper was hugging a jar of Cacao Skin Care. All natural made from 90% cacao, 5% organic oatmeal and 5% organic olive oil. “Add a little sugar to the mix and the mask becomes a scrub” Henrik said. Or breakfast, I thought.
Back in the car, we drove toward the beach with bags of softening chocolate in hand and hearts filled with an even deeper love of chocolate. Tonight, we will have sweet dreams.
Here is the contact info:
The Beach Chocolate Factory/Maleku Chocolate (this is the parent company): 8am to 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday, Village Community Center Brasilito
Call 506-4701-0536 or 88876-4242 for reservation and a quote for a group
Every Friday at 9:30 a.m. regular workshop no reservation needed
Private events available