One of the V-Day gifts for A was a "Make Your Own Chocolate Kit". He has often asked about the origin and process of chocolate, and we have read books and looked it up online...but he wanted to make chocolate! We finally had time this weekend to do it!
The kit, which contains fair trade organic ingredients, is just a few packets which contains cocoa butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, crystals and some paper cups. There are also a few sample cacao beans to look at and feel. There is a story included about the organic farmers who grow the cacao, organic farming methods as well as the legend of cacao.
"Cacao was so special to the ancient Aztecs that they told this legend: Their god, Quetzalcoatl, brought the cacao tree from Paradise to earth, traveling on a beam of the Morning Star. He gave the tree as an offering to the people, and they learned how to roast and grind its beans into a paste. They added spices and mixed it with water calling it "xocolatl" or "bitterwater". They believed that it brought wisdom and knowledge to those who drank it."
The instructions to 'make' the chocolate were pretty simple, but required an adult hand due to temperature. The boys poured ingredients into the bowl, stirred as it cooled, and checked the sticky thermometer for the right temperature to add or stir. Into the little cups they added natural marshmallows or peanuts. When it was ready, they spooned the chocolate into the cups, and we let them harden.
They had a lot of fun learning about and making chocolate pieces. G doesn't like chocolate, but liked the process. A enjoys chocolate a little - but only in very tiny amounts. And my husband doesn't like the richness of dark chocolate. Leaving lots of rich organic dark chocolate just for me.
Interested in chocolate? Here are a few good links.
World Cocoa Foundation | The Cocoa Tree | Chocolate Kit
In Latin, the name of the cacao tree is Theobroma cacao, which means "food of the gods."