In March I had the unique opportunity (and enough miles) to visit Costa Rica with my children.  Wow — what a fantastic place!  One of the last places we visited, on the way back to San Jose, was a spice farm called Villa Vanilla. Even though we missed the tour, the owner gave us a look around . . .

This is a pod from the cacao tree.

And this is what chocolate looks like before it’s roasted.  It’s the whitish seeds.  We tasted them — they’re kind of sweet and slightly chocolatey.

Here are the roasted chocolate “nibs” ready for grinding.

And there is a stack of cinnamon.  Yep — all this wood gets scraped and ground for cinnamon.

And here, very concisely, is how chocolate is made:

And some cracked roasted cocoa nibs that I can grind myself.  Except that I have no grinding stone.  So . . . maybe a good Christmas present .  .  .

And chocolate is so healthy for you! I’m so glad chocolate was invented.  Aren’t you?

Just is case you want to order some nibs for yourself, here’s the link:  rainforest spices.

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