Exploits from a Wannabe Ex-Pat
What is my ideal day, you ask? Take any activity, add Laura Lynn and chocolate–especially if that activity is spending time in one of the most beautiful cities in the world with no real place to be, and you got it.
That’s exactly what I did today. Due to complications with Laura Lynn’s Gap Adventures tour (which has only gotten more and more frustrating as time goes on), we were stuck in Antigua for another day (“stuck” is a relative term. There are far worse places to be forced to spend an extra day). That means we had to find something to do, and on a whim I found ChocoMuseo offering tours and a chocolate making course. It was $20 and worth every penny and more.
We learned a lot about the history of chocolate, the chocolate-making process and what makes good chocolate. Then came the sexy bit. Our amazing tour guide Ismael whipped us up three chocolate drinks: a traditional chocolate tea, an authentic Mayan chocolate drink and a more European-style hot chocolate. He was Nicaraguan and had equal parts charm, good humour and enthusiasm. “Soy un pocito loco,” he’d say. At the end of it, he had chocolate stripes on his face like war paint.
We got to take part, too, toasting the beans, peeling them, grinding them and, finally, putting them in a mould and making our own flavour combinations. We went for lunch at Rainbow Cafe for a wonderful soup and sandwich deal (39q each) that included the best pico de gallo I’ve ever tried in my life. When we came back, our chocolate was cooled and we got to dig in. My god, was it ever tasty. Even those which didn’t have much flavouring were beyond any chocolate I’d ever had before Central America. It’s amazing how much of a difference freshness makes.
After that, we headed for the artisan market my friends from Nova Scotia had told me about. It was every bit as good as they’d said and Laura Lynn was simply expert at pointing out which items were authentically Guatemalan, not to mention bartering. If I got you something, it was decidedly made possible by Laura Lynn’s savvy work at el mercado.
Then there was a point when I was decidedly marketed out and Laura Lynn was still looking, so I went on a bit of a photo walk which is where I got the picture of the two young girls of the doorway and the one of the big yellow arch. I actually took about 50 of the damn thing, but it’s so Antigua iconic that I had to get one I was 100% happy with. This is my closest…
And then we went for Thai food, believe it or not, and came back to the apartment to blog. It’s an early morning tomorrow (4am bus to Copan, Honduras) so I will leave it there with a few photos. Hope you’re enjoying the blog!
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