While the ChocoMuseo wasn’t exactly a museum highlight, it was a food highlight and thus also merits its own post. It’s located upstairs off of a courtyard, and I particularly liked the wooden floors, multi-paned windows, and lovely red potted plants of the hallway as you approach it.
As I mentioned before, this is more of a gift shop and cafe than a museum, but if you take the time to read the posters on the wall you can learn quite a bit about the history of cacao in Peru and its current role in changing agricultural practices (there’s a movement to convert coca farmland to cacao farmland to reduce the volume of legitimately-grown coca that ends up as illegal cocaine).
On arrival, they offer a sample of cacao tea made with cacao shells. This tea was a pleasant surprise, tasting like a cross between tea and hot chocolate.
We enjoyed it so much that when we returned on another day for a rest stop, rain relief, and wifi access, we each ordered a pot of it.
And while enjoying our tea, we also enjoyed a view of the beautiful square below, the downpour that we were very glad to not be walking in, and the lovely rainbow that followed.
On our first visit, we ordered a skewer of chocolate-covered fruit (delicious frozen strawberries covered in chocolate) and a brownie (very rich and dense, easily worth splitting between two or more people). In retrospect, while both were delicious, I enjoyed the cacao tea from our second visit so much that I would gladly order it over the desserts again given the opportunity.
They also have several flavors of cacao butter and cacao-based liqueur available to taste. Everything I tasted was delicious.
And finally, you can buy bars or squares of milk or dark chocolate in a variety of both familiar and unfamiliar flavors.
We ended up buying a bar of cardamom-flavored chocolate, but the gift boxes for the chocolate squares were absolutely beautiful, made of brightly colored and beautifully textured paper with accents of patterned fabric and ribbon.
I love that they use an Inca wall texture on the chocolate bars.
While we didn’t take advantage of the chocolate-making classes, we saw a few students making their own chocolate bars and it looked like they were having fun. I’d love to try that someday. A reason to return to Cusco, right? :)