*video links are in blue/green
We used our activity fund today for both the amazing chocolate tour and the crowd favorite, the pineapple tour.
Get ready to laugh! Our tour guide, Chapo, was hysterical! He started our tour on a serious note, talking to us about ecosystems and human destruction of our planet, encouraging us to do our part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Aztecs and Mayans in Central America were the ones who used the bitter bean and made it delicious. They considered it a gift from the gods.
The first chocolate bar was made in London. Africa sells 72% of all cacao in the world.
The dark side of chocolate is a documentary that shows unfortunate exploitation of labor to make chocolate. Fair trade and organic products are ways to ensure workers are treated with respect and earn fairer wages.
Before we learned too much about chocolate, Chapo showed us a cinnamon tree, a peppercorn tree, and Kyndal learned to pollinate a vanilla bean flower.
Kyndal pollinates a flower
It takes 6 months from flower to pod. Cacao trees can grow up to 80 feet high and give 35 years for harvest. It takes 70 beans to make a chocolate bar. And it takes 200 pods to make 100 quality bars.
Chapo had Akira smash open the fruit and we all tried a piece. Then a spitting contest ensued 🙈
Akira smashes cacao
Chapo shows off his fruit
Akira tries fruit
Aleah’s mouth of purple cacao
Chapo spits his seed
Mr. Dolan spits
Seeds need to ferment which takes 7 days. Then they are dried for 15 days in the green house. Then they are roasted.
The beans then need to be separated from their shells; Chapo-style. 😂😂😂
Chapo grinds his beans
Kyndal and Audra grind beans
Kaylin grinds beans
Shayne grinds beans
Jonàs and Jessica grind beans
Maky grinds beans
After the smashing, the powder is ground with sugar. Also, Chapo style.
Chapo uses his grinder
HHS travel club knows how to grind
The mixture is then heated on a hot rock, or metate.
And as the Incas and Aztecs originally gave it to Cortes, we had it with chili and corn too…but we added the magical ingredient of sugar of course. No caca for us!
After the drink, we had all the spoonfuls of chocolate we could handle
After eating all that chocolate it was time to kayak Arenal lake. But first, we spotted a sloth and had to take a peak!
What an incredible experience to see such amazing views of the volcano and enjoy the hot sun and cool water!
Some of us had a bit of a harder time kayaking, but the boat helped!
We enjoyed coconut water after the excursion!
After kayaking, we had lunch and then ventured out for our incredible afternoon: La Fortuna Waterfall, the pineapple farm tour, and the hot springs.
Our tour guide for the pineapple farm was Danny. Danny says bananas are the number one export but pineapples are the second biggest export.
Leah’s tractor song
Green, harder pineapples are more ripe. They will slowly stop ripening after picked and begin fermenting which is why they are refrigerated.
Each plant produces 1 pineapple and takes a year. It’s very labor intensive. If a pineapple plant is happy, it won’t produce fruit. (This might be the perfect plant for me, if you know me at all). Ethylene is produced when the plant is stressed and will induce the production of a pineapple. In the wild, a change in temperature will cause it to become “stressed out”.
Below is a worker clearing the fields after harvest.
Worker cuts pineapple
You can grow a pineapple at home by planting the top. If you want to induce a plant at home, cut an apple into pieces and put it into the crown. Plastic bag for 5 days, and in 25 days you will get a small pineapple. Four months after the pineapple is induced you will get a full-grown pineapple. Pineapples start brown, and are green when ripe, and yellow when it is over-ripe and animals will eat it.
Danny cuts pineapple
Hot springs boomerang