I was at the Salón del Cacao Y Chocolate in Lima, Peru earlier this month. The three-day event is organized by the Peruvian Association of Cocoa Producers (APPCACAO) and was interesting in that it really gave visitors a chance to meet cacao growers, see and taste cocoa beans (both raw and roasted), and sample a wide assortment of Peruvian chocolate, chocolate mixed with Pisco (Peru’s national brandy-like drink), and other innovative chocolate creations including chocolate sushi!
This was the fourth annual Chocolate Salon in Lima. Although the show is not as big or elaborate as Chocolate Salons you will find in Paris or London, it really was enjoyable and educational, and gives the chocolate lover an opportunity to learn more about Peru’s cocoa growing industry and the people who are growing aromatic cocoa and making the country’s finest chocolate. There was someone at nearly every booth who spoke English, so even if you don’t speak Spanish you can get by. Afterall, chocolate is the universal language of passion and pleasure.
It’s no secret that I am in love with Roselen Chocolatier. I awarded this Lima-based chocolatier the Chocolatour Award of Excellence for most beautiful hand-painted chocolates in volume I of Chocolatour and they were featured in this post from last year’s visit to Lima. Giorgio Demarini has taken the skills he learned in the graphic arts industry and applied his artistic talent to making the chocolates that he and his mother create into delectable works of art. I challenge you to find more beautiful hand-crafted chocolates anywhere on the planet.
I also love the chocolates created by Lisi Montoya who owns Shattell Chocolate, a small company she opened in the fall of 2009. Lisi started making chocolates for her clients when she was a travel agent, and they became so popular, she decided to open her own chocolate workshop and offer her chocolates to the world. Because of her passion for travel and her desire to create true perfection, Lisi went to Mexico to learn about enrobing chocolate, and to Paris to learn techniques that would improve her chocolates even more.
I also discovered a great new chocolatier that I missed on my last visit to Lima. Miscelánea Dulces makes cakes, pastries, and delicious chocolates. The truffle that won my heart was Miscelánea’s Plátano y Maracuyá which is banana and passion fruit sauteed with rum and vanilla, and then rolled in 65% Puira white cacao. The fresh flavours exploded with exuberance in my mouth. Miscelánea’s shop is located in the Miraflores area of Lima, where you’ll also find Xocolatl by Giovanna Maggiolo — who in addition to assorted fresh chocolates, also sells a divine chocolate and Pisco liquor.
But by far, what sets the Salón del Cacao y Chocolate of Lima apart from other Chocolate Salons around the world is the opportunity to interact with the cocoa farmers, and see firsthand the beans in their raw state. It brings you just that much closer to the passion behind the chocolate. I do hope you’ll try and take in one of the Chocolate Salons (Shows) around the world. If you’ve attended any, please let us know what you liked/didn’t like. about the site, setup, or selection. The one in Lima takes place at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre in early July, which unfortunately, is their winter. The weather was quite cool, windy, and cloudy while we were there. But the warm smiles of the Peruvian people, and the opportunity to taste the fruity notes of fresh Peruvian-grown cocoa made it all worthwhile.
Please join us back here the week of July 29th, when we’ll take you to some of the cacao-growing regions of Peru.