For many people, when they’re having a bit of a stressful day, what do they reach for as a comfort? For some, it’s sweet treats like chocolate. For others, it might be a glass of wine or pisco (if you’re in Peru). But did you know that both these popular things, chocolate and alcohol, actually come from the same Cacao fruit?
If you crack open the Cacao fruit, inside you’ll find a white, spongy pulp with the cocoa beans inside. If you’ve seen the chirimoya fruit on your travels, it looks a lot like this.
The cacao bean itself it bitter, but the spongy pulp is all sugar (looks like it was always chocolate’s destiny to be sweet!). But what happens if you leave the sugary pulp alone…it ferments into alcohol.
As I learnt at Chocomuseo, the cacao farmers in the Peruvian Amazon have developed the technique to take this fermented cacao pulp and process it into an alcoholic spirit. But, here’s the tease- they won’t ship it to Lima!
As I myself will not be visiting the Amazon on this trip, I pass on the investigative baton to any traveler in Peru who will be taking a trip to an area near cacao plantations. Chocolate booze? Let’s track some down! Until that time, we might all have to be content with some chocolaty pisco which you can purchase at one of the Choco Museo stores across Lima. Pop in for a free sample, they have sites in Miraflores, Barranco, and Plaza de Armas. But be careful, tasty treats like this are hard to put down!
Beckie is a volunteer with the Karikuy Volunteer Program in Lima, Peru.