Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Chocolate Factory

The wafts of chocolate coming out of the factory made me melt on the spot. Orquidea, the largest chocolate company in the San Martin region, was giving us a personal tour! I might as well have died and gone to heaven. The sacks of fermented cocoa beans, the series of machines to grind the beans, smooth them, remove the acidity, mix in sugar and milk: all leading up to bins of chocolate paste lining the factory floor. I wanted to dive in and swim in it. Instead of Willy Wonka's orange midgets, they have very professional and much more hygienic employees all in white who mix and fill the chocolate molds on a warm metal surface. In one corner, one woman was experimenting with different types of liqueur fillings.

            Our guide brought out a tray of samples, milk and dark chocolate. I kept brainstorming questions to ask him so that I could discreetly reach for the tray again and again, all the while nodding earnestly. Their super creamy dark chocolate has 65% cocoa. They mix crispy quinoa with milk chocolate to give it that crunch. The mocha one was better than any cup coffee. I wanted to stash myself in a corner just so I could run around at night after closing and make angels in the chocolate syrup or push over a machine and canoe down the chocolate river singing "oompa loompa doopa dee doo, I've got another puzzle for you..."