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Choco-Story projects in Mexico

Uxmal : eco museo del cacao (open since 2014)
Chichen Itza : museo del cacao (under construction)
Mexico City : museo del cacao y del maïz (in preparation)

Archeologists have discovered under our building, in Mexico City, which is situated near the famous Templo Mayor (largest temple) in the old town, what is called a tzompantli.

tzompantli

tzompantli

In the story of his voyage to New Spain(= Mexico) friar Bernardino de Sahagun, describes the impressive Templo Mayor and the frightening tzompantli.

A platform on which the Aztecs displayed the skulls of their enemies.

The platform probably measures somewhere between 10 by 70 meters and might have contained up to 35.000 skulls (10 rows of 70 wooden pillars, with each 10 sticks with 5 skulls = 35.000 skulls).

The cut off heads where first exhibited as such on the platform. Later on the remaining skulls were pierced and hung on the sticks.

The Spanish invaders even mentioned having seen on the platform heads of their companions and of their horses. Indeed, the Aztecs thought that horses and riders were one being.

Choco-Story has the intention to have the basement of the house excavated, to provide access to this fantastic discovery to the visitors interested in it.

The Cocoa Development Fund

We should, once again, like to say a big thank you on behalf of Choco-Story and all those who are helped by the Cocoa Development Fund, to everyone who contributed to the fund on the occasion of the opening of our museum.

Every year Choco-Story donates 2.500 € to our fund

The aim of the fund is to help small cocoa farmers with new farming and marketing techniques.

Ongoing projects :

How the cocoa husk can be used for cooking

For more than 5,000 years man has been using cocoa beans as an ingredient for different preparations, but never before the cocoa husk.

Yet the husk represents 80% of the total weight of the fruit.

Up until now the cocoa husk has only been used for making fertilizer or to feed cattle; although both very rarely.

In general the husks are left to rot in small piles in the plantations.

Every year 4,000,000 tonnes of cocoa beans are harvested worldwide, which means that 16,000,000 tonnes of husk are thrown away or just a very small percentage is transformed.

We heard that a Peruvian cook, called Mercedes Mendoza, was making some very tasty dishes using the husk as an ingredient and so we decided to get in touch with her.

The Cocoa Development Fund, run by Choco-Story, the chocolate museum, made an agreement with her and has collected all her ideas for cooking the cocoa husk in a recipe book.

The book has now been published in three languages (French, Spanish and English) and it will enable the cocoa-farmers to recycle what used to be a waste product into a food-stuff at no cost to them.

Any country can adapt the recipes and use the husk in the preparation of soups, sauces, main dishes and desserts.

The cocoa husk is fat-free and contains vitamins and minerals.

A welcome food complement for the cocoa-producing countries.

Peru

The Chocolate Museum in Bruges has created a truly historic event through its "Cocoa Development Fund".

This came about because Choco-Story published a book of recipes in which the basic ingredient is the husk of the cocoa pod.

Cocoa beans only make up 20% of the fruit of the cacao tree; they are processed by fermentation and roasting and then used for making chocolate.

The cocoa pod husk makes up 80% of the total weight of the fruit and is either discarded or at best used as fertilizer.

Thanks to the recipes invented by the Peruvian chef Mercedes Mendoza, with whom Choco-Story has signed an agreement of collaboration, cocoa farmers and their workers can now recuperate the shell and use it in the preparation of sauces, dishes and desserts.

The cocoa husk can even be turned into chips and crisps.

It is a great achievement to transform a product that was formerly thrown away into a consumable.

The Choco-Story Coca Development Fund funded this project and will distribute the book of recipes to farmers and their workers free of charge.

Mendoza Peru

mendoza peru

mendoza peru

The Kuna Indians of Panama

We read several scientific papers reporting that the Kuna Indians of Panama have low blood pressure.

The reason why their blood pressure is lower than ours is because they consume large quantities of cocoa.
To satisfy our curiosity, we went and visited them twice in the San Blas archipelago, the island of Playon Chico and the villages of Nurra and Wala in the Darien (see the Choco-Story web site – trips – Panama).

In order to preserve the know-how of their civilization and its strong links, even dependence upon, cocoa, we decided to publish a book about the Kuna and cocoa.

We also bought 200 molas that we offered as end of year presents.

We continue to buy molas in small quantities and sell them in the shops in our museums.

Venezuela

During our second visit to the chocolate museum of Paria in October 2012, we had the opportunity of meeting the current owner, Mrs Quintero, and were able to make a second shipment of 100 makrolon moulds this time.

KAKAW : Photography book about the "Cacao Real" from Soconusco

The aim of the chocolate museum is to inform the general public all about the history of cocoa and chocolate and the benefits they offer.
The chocolate museum, Choco-Story, has for many years been aware of the problems faced by the families of peasant farmers who make their living from cocoa and it has created a “Cocoa Fund” whose activities, whilst modest due to its status as a museum, are dedicated to helping local projects.

An interest in the history and origins of cocoa in general, and more specifically in the area of Soconusco where “Royal Cocoa” was already being produced when the Aztecs ruled there, is the second reason why the management of the museum was convinced to participate in the publishing of this book (Writer : Tomas Abella).

May it help to save “Royal Cocoa” and the men, women and children who make their living from it.

Jorge Aguilar CASFA

Jorge Aguilar, president of CASFA, has kindly offered this very nice metate that he received from his grandmother to Choco-Story thanking for the cooperation.

The Cacao Fino San José project

This small but nice production unit is situated in San José near Tapachula in the south of Mexico.

Choco-Story will help this cooperative to produce fine chocolates that can be sold to be eaten and not just to be dissolved to make drinks.

Choco-Story sent them

  1. 100 macrolon moulds
  2. a marble plate to temper the chocolate
  3. aluminum foils to pack the chocolates as they are difficult to find locally
San José

San José

San José

San José

Cameroon

This project is proving to be slower to develop than we had hoped, but we are continuing with it
We will keep you informed as soon as something concrete happens

Cuba

(see the Choco-Story website - countries).

The project which is advancing fastest is the building of a cocoa and chocolate museum and visitor centre in Baracoa This town is located in the south east of the island, Cuba's main cocoa farming area.

Choco-Story is helping establish a small museum with pictures and text on the history of cocoa and chocolate.

It will create the exhibition panels finance the display cabinets donate items for display : chocolate cups, chocolatières, moulds, etc.

The total cost is estimated to be 2.500 à 3.000.

Below :
- Photo of the exterior

- Shots of the interior.

In the frame of our decision to assist the creation of the chocolate shop-museum in Baracoa, Choco-Story has thanks to its Cocoa Development Fund, co financed together with Syntra Brussels a tempering machine.

See hereafter thank you letter

Venezuela

In the Paria Peninsula the company Paria Chocolates produces chocolate.

They also have a small, but nice museum.
They provide help to local artisans to produce chocolate from the cocoa beans.
To help them Choco-Story has sent them 140 polycarbonate chocolate moulds.