If you’ve had the opportunity to taste chocolate made from local, organic Costa Rican cocoa, then you might want to check out Puerto Viejo this weekend. The southern Caribbean beach town is hosting a chocolate festival through Sunday.
Local restaurants and chocolate shops participate in this three-day event, where visitors from different countries have a chance to taste and judge chocolate from a variety of small and family-owned cocoa farms in the Talamanca region.
The tasting contest will take place at Puerto Viejo’s Farmer’s Market and Cultural Center on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The public will choose the winner of the First Annual Cacao Producers Award in Costa Rica.
The chocolate champion will receive $500 from CariBeans Coffee & Chocolate, a popular local producer that recently opened a chocolate tasting lounge in Cocles last month. They also offer 14 different flavors of chocolate bars, ranging from tequila-flavored to spicy chili.
The festival also offers workshops where participants can experience the chocolate-making process, from tasting the cocoa fruit from local farms to handcrafting the seed to obtain chocolate in different stages.
In addition, participating restaurants will prepare low-priced tapas dishes with the main ingredient being, of course, chocolate.
Restaurant Bar and Lounge Koki Beach, for example, advertised on their website a chocolate martini made to perfection. Chili Rojo, which specializes in Thai cuisine, plans to concoct a Mexican favorite called Chile Mole Negro, made with organic chocolate. Local dessert and breakfast joint Bread and Chocolate is offering samples of their chocolate truffles and cakes to all of their customers throughout the weekend.
Other participating restaurants include: Lazy Mon, Flip Flop, El Paso, Stashu’s con Fusion, Lotus Garden and Mon Li, among others. Find the festival on Facebook at Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival.