Searching for Cocoa

TUESDAY 10th MAY:

After an introduction to the world of fine cacao and its production methods at Ingemann’s processing and sorting facility, it was time to hit the (rather bumpy) road out to the cacao farms of north central Nicaragua. Here we would be meeting with the farmers, learning their trade and helping them with the harvest of some of their crop – the pods of the prized Theobroma Cacao tree.

Our route for the forthcoming week
Our route for the forthcoming week

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Miel y Cacao

SUNDAY 9th MAY:

It’s 4.45am on a Sunday and I’m running for a train to the airport with two backpacks strapped to me, trying to eat a banana and call a cab company. Uber have failed me!

I make the flight and set off on my most ambitious Chocolate Adventure yet. Having spent most of the last few years exploring some of the best chocolate shops in far-flung corners of the world, and having worked as a chocolatier, it was now time to get down to basics, to go right back to the beginning and discover what really goes in to creating one of the worlds’ most popular treats.

Chocolate found here
Chocolate found here

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Free-fall to Chocolate

Our time up North had sadly come to an end, and despite eating more than my fill of avocado and all manner of fish dishes – recipes can be found soon in the recipe section on this blog – it was now time to head South. I had a skydive session booked, chocolates to eat, more friends to meet and an Island of Wine to explore. Heading south we pass the Kaori store, featuring a staircase carved from a giant hollowed out Kaori tree!

Sitting in a tree

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Let’s Hit The Road

THE TIME HAD COME:

The time for goodbyes as classes were over and I had a few more weeks until I would hop back over the pond.

Many a red cup had been drunk from, many a crazy party had been had (with many a stumble back home along Route 66 from Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Downtown Albuquerque). I’d said goodbyes and now it was time to hit the road and soak up as much New Mexico sun as possible before heading back to the Wet Country (England).

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Spring Break, Y’all.

The most American holiday of all, Spring Break is quintessentially American and something that people around the world associate with lots of drinking and general American-style chaos. They’re right…

We decided to do what every other American was going to do this Spring Break- go to Mexico. Only, as we were all on a budget and miles away from Cancun our next best option was Rocky Point in Puerto Penasco just south of the boarder of Arizona. Fun times were ahead!

ROAD TRIP!!
ROAD TRIP!!

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Take Me to Mexico

Moved into my flat- still sans luggage- next thing I know I’ve just agreed to go on a last minute trip to Mexico! Having met my new neighbours it turns out one of them (a Swedish ice hockey player) filled out the wrong visa entry card and has 24 hours to leave the country and return, otherwise he will be deported, logical conclusion (since Canada is a bit too far) is to drive to Mexico!

Storm clouds heading to Mexico
Storm clouds heading to Mexico

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Refuel in Rabat before Casablanca Chaos

REFUEL IN RABAT
After dads distressing hammam experience, we made our way to Rabat and the accidental booking of one of the most expensive hotels in the capital!
Marble floors, gold and chandeliers
The hotel was very grand with marble floors, gold and chandeliers

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Fiasco in Fes

It began with dad spending the night in his car, whilst I unsuspectingly spent it in a mansion of mosaics, me getting lost down all the dead ends in Fes – Morocco’s second largest city – the next day whilst trying to find him, and him subsequently getting arrested – for driving the wrong way down a one way street in a restricted area without a valid permit.

The Fes mansion was of mosaics
The Fes mansion was of mosaics

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Sahara Sandstorm Saga

The Sahara is a magical land, frequented by many nomadic ‘Berber tribes’ who still wander this majestic desert, across ancient routes with their camels and produce to trade with neighbouring settlements.

Berbers walking
Berbers walking – the calm before the storm

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Cross Continent Euro-Hike

DEALING WITH THE FRENCH:

Our two day stint in France involved arguments with police (contrary to advice we’d been given, turns out it’s illegal to hitch hike in France!)

Transvestite encounters, despair at derelict roundabouts, your average French and Lithuanian hitch hikers lending their advice and lots of kerbside dancing in cardboard boxes.

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