The Chocolate Life

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The beginning of my chocolate journey

I've been in Guatemala for about 2 1/2 months now and today I had my first taste of good chocolate. It was quite by accident. I stopped by the University and I spotted a corner bakery where I could enjoy a coffee and make a few phone calls. On my way out I saw wrapped in cellophane with bright yellow ribbons, bars of chocolate. It read "Chocol 'ha: Chocolate Oscuro, 62% Cacao". Mmmmm! I immediately bought it, it was a good deal for 18Q (about $2.50 or so). It was delicious! I really should have bought the another; there were only two.

I wasn't expecting it to be very good so I ate the first bite quickly and then the burst of flavor automatically slowed my chewing. I let it sit in my mouth for a while so I could explore the flavors and texture. It was creamy but a little hard; there was a bit of bloom on the corners of the bar. There was no graininess at all, a very uniform, creamy texture. The flavors were not too complex but they were there. It was more full-bodied that I would expected; I immediately inhaled a coffee flavor and just a hint of tobacco. After a few seconds it started to remind me of the forest -- maybe a mossy flavor? Or was it the scent of fresh, wet dirt? Whatever it was, I really liked it. It was quite an earthy piece of chocolate; not too bold but what I might call 'stately'.

I called the phone number listed on the little label and the woman and I spoke for almost 30 minutes. She told me how her husband quit his job to start making chocolate, and they have a small set-up in what used to be their children's playroom. She was so pleasant and invited me to lunch and to come and see their small operation. She said that they didn't have a website just yet, but they were working on it. It was a good day!

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Tags: Guatemala, earthy, mossy


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Comment by Alicia on March 23, 2009 at 3:25pm
What an amazing experience! I was wondering, is Chocol'ha located in Guatemala City? My grandfather is in Antigua right now and would love it if he could bring some chocolate back to Canada for me!
Comment by cheebs on March 18, 2009 at 5:07pm
I'll have the honor of having Isla Reina over tomorrow for a visit. I'll leave it to her to tell you tomorrow what she thinks of my chocolate.

ro, you're welcome to visit anytime as well.
Comment by ro on March 18, 2009 at 3:36pm
Hey Isla Reina,
I'm in search of artisan chocolate in Guatemala City. Any ideas? Have you tried that chocolate store in Proceres?
Comment by Clay Gordon on March 17, 2009 at 7:15pm
When you go please take pictures and post them in an album here for everyone to share. Don't forget to take a photo of the label. That way they have an international presence on the Internet through our community here.
Comment by Andre Costa on March 12, 2009 at 11:02am
What a wonderful experience it must have been!

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