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Monday, September 13, 2010

Chocolate Plantation Tour




Bumming in Bocas Del Toro with my arm all bandaged up in a skin colored ace bandage. My smile wasn’t as big usual. All the tour operators talked about “island hopping,” scuba diving, and snorkeling. My new Doc warned me to keep my arm out of the sun and especially the water.
But it turned out even better, and one reason is because I use chocolate for healing therapy. Jampan Tours took me on a trip to a chocolate plantation right across the island. Our tour guide took us through his property, showing us a variety of plants and trees. Like the “monkey no climb” tree. A touch of the sharp points growing off this bark also means “human don’t touch.”
And we were soon onto the sweeter stuff, learning how chocolate is processed. My mind was churning, waiting for the final product. But first! The cocoa bean. Our lovely guide opened up one of the green pods and let us taste the fresh beans inside. White, juicy seeds that taste just like a refreshing fruit. I couldn’t believe that these seeds turn into chocolate after being dried and processed.
The chocolate on this plantation is only used for cooking. This meant no instant gratification. I would have to take my hunk of chocolate home and find a recipe! But, good news there was a little something to get the chocolate craving kick. Cocao Nibs. New to me, but we have had many introductions since. And the experts say they are full of minerals and nutrients, magnesium and help support stable blood sugar and oxygenation. Well all the excitement of the chocolate was leaving me a little short on breath so I had to order a few bags.
A great, personal tour. The guide, also the owner, talks to you just like you are a curious friend. There are no scripts to follow. He tells you how it is. Who wants a scripted tour anyway?

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