ensemble of cacao fruits

CACAO FARM OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

You remember that I told you about how much I felt in love with Bocas del Toro? Besides all I mentioned before, here comes another reason why you should go there and what you shouldn’t miss out! A day on the Green Acres Chocolate Farm, it is fun, interesting and we learned a lot of about real cacao. I swear even toddlers don’t get bored!

 

 

at the farm

 

The ultimate way to get there is by boat from Bocas Town. It is about a 30-45 min ride, crossing Dolphin Bay and lot’s of mangroves. Your day can’t start better than on a boat ride and maybe spotting some dolphins. Once you arrive at the farm you step directly into a stunning rainforest-botanical garden-cacao-platation something!

 

At the farm

Cacao trees need water and warm temperatures, so Saint Peter did them a favor that day and let it rain. We didn’t mind, we put on hiking boots and rain jackets. At about 30° it’s not getting cold anyways. Before the tour starts we got a little introduction about the history of the farm, cacao trees and the cacao business in general. To be strengthened for the tour and walk to come, they served some bananas from their own harvests.

 

organic banana

 

The property is not only huge, it is super well maintained. All those plants, colours, smells and sounds of nature – AMAZING! Our tour guide, the owner, was very knowledgeable and seemed to know every single corner, leaf and plant by name. We could listen to the monkeys and birds. Got super close to poison dart  frogs and ate some termites, to keep our protein level.

 

 

green poison dart frog

termites

cacao tree

 

Walking through this green environment really felt good. Boredom at no time, not for the adults neither for big J. It was excitement all over exploring the farm, getting in touch with where the favourite sweets come from. Now even toddler J knows, that her chocolate bars have barely to do with real cacao anymore LOL. After about 30 minutes they brought us down the hill to the „holy hall“ – The Factory! I will not go into more detail, so you will have your own aha – effect once you come here. But one thing – it is a lot more of manual work as you might imagine.

 

 

on the way to the factory

 

In the factory he told and showed us, how to dry the beans, how to roast them, how to process them and of course we got samples. The disappointment of the „unsweetness“ and the expression at big J’s face, priceless. The tour ended with an Q&A and another unexpected sample as well as buying some souvenirs for ourselves and the family.

 

 

rosted bean

I highly recommend a tour like this! If you don’t make to Bocas and Green Acres,  do it elsewhere!

 

Facts & pictures of and about cacao
  • Cacao trees love it wet and warm. They need a special climate, that’s why they grow about 20° north and south of the equator.
  • The trees prefer shade, why you will find them among other tropical plants and trees.
  • Flowers and fruits grow at the trunks. There are three main sorts and the fruits have different colours, starting with green though. The harvest is twice a year.

 

green cacao fruit

red cacao fruit

 

  • The pulp around the beans is edible. Ripe fruit pulp is sweet, unripe a bit more like a lemon and the consistence is like a lychee. Biting in and open the bean the taste gets bitter, bitter like real dark pure chocolate.

 

opened cacao fruit

bean with pulp and opened

 

  • In our-days almost all parts of the cacao beans will be used. Even the husks are now sold, they are used to make tea!

 

We had a wonderful day and learned a lot. The poring rain didn’t bother at no time and the boat ride back to our B&B was as fun and adventures as we like it!

 

on the way back

 

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