If you find yourself in Cusco, Peru, and are looking to kill a few hours (whilst also looking to feed yourself something delightful) I suggest you get yourself down to to Museum De la Coca, also known as Choco Museum.
Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Two blocks from the central Plaza De Armas, this heavenly chocolate must-do, offers chocolate shopping, chocolate tours, mini chocolate workshops and two hour chocolate cooking classes, which is what I booked myself onto on my last day in Cusco. The two hour class was 75S (£18) or 55S for kids (£13). This does include 30S worth of chocolate to take home, but if it’s a bit pricey the mini workshop is only 35S (£8.50).
I went on a Sunday afternoon and there were only three others in my group, making the whole experience very intimate and personal, with our tutor and chocolate expert constantly cracking jokes and flirting with all four of us (even the two blokes). Some of the jokes and flirtatious comments did come out a little creepy, but we all agreed to blame it on banter being lost in translation.
Before putting on our oh-so stylish green chef hats and sampling different types of chocolate from all over South America, we were given a little talk on chocolate and coca beans and exactly where they come from. And then we moved onto drinks…
As well as making a Peruvian chocolate tea (yum!), and a hot chocolate using Alpaca milk (not bad), followed by a more traditional European hot chocolate (very nice!) our tutor then coached us through making our very own box of chocolates of for us to pack in our bags and take home to our families … or you can just scoff them all yourself – like I did.
You even get to chose whether you want to make milk chocolate, or go for the more organic version and create a box of dark chocolates. I know I should have gone for the latter, but my love of milky chocolate got the better of me and I opted to make 16 milk chocolates.
I added cinnamon to a few of mine, as well as grounded almonds and then crunched up Oreo cookies to the rest! Yup, you get to chose from a HUGE selection of toppings or mixes for your chocolates, they have everything from peanuts, sprinkles and m&ms, to mint, raisins and even salt. What would you choose?
There is even an incredible chocolate gift shop selling sooooo many chocolate items. From big chunky chocolate bars and bottles of chocolate liquor and shots, to chocolate beauty products including lip balms and face masks. Had I not been in my first week of a six week trip I probably would have stocked up on more chocolate items than I care to admit. But with five more weeks of backpacking to go, I’m not sure squashing multiple meltable items into my already hard-to-zip-up rucksack would have been wise. I initially picked up a few giant bars of dark Peruvian chocolate to take as ‘Christmas Gifts’, but who was I kidding? I knew I would have ended up eating them all myself, so I wisely put down the bars and stepped away from the chocolate.
But I did very much enjoy scoffing my handmade chocolates on my bus journey to Puno the next day, they were absolutely delicious and I swear they were tastier knowing I had made them myself.
And just to make the whole experience even better, here is why Museo de la Coca think we should eat chocolate everyday:
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