More than a Chocolate Tour
~ by Annie Drake
Calling the Rancho Raíces tour a “Chocolate Tour” would be a severe understatement.
It is so much more! We had a wonderful presentation with the owner Don German and his family to this 20 hectare sustainable farm, half agricultural and the rest a secondary rain forest. We learned about flavorful and medicinal herbs and tropical hardwoods among many other things. The cacao tree has the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Theobroma means in Greek "food of the gods". Some of the odd facts include: Teta de Vaca (Solanum mammosum) which is a natural insecticide.
The sap (milk) of the huge Vaco (ox) tree cures ulcers. Lagartillo Negro (Alibertia edulis, Heliotropium) is supposed to be a sacred tree. This location holds the cure for all major diseases. We learned how to heal one of the world’s largest Ceibo trees from a deadly virus.
The caverns formed by its roots can hold a small group, giving off healing energy perfect for massage and meditation.
The second half of the tour focuses on various cacao plants, their uses and how to harvest this delicious treat. A barn structure is used to process the beans. The entire family works there and are happy to show how it is processed naturally. We were served a delicious cold, dark chocolate milk and a snack of guacamole with yucca, Malanga and plantain chips, followed by a dessert of this heavenly chocolate and fruit.
The family demonstrated how to prepare it, letting us participate with every step and joining us when we ate the delicacy that we helped prepare. Now it is clear why chocolate is called “the food of the Gods”. This charming family has recovered its farming traditions while working their sustainable organic farm.
They contribute to Mother Earth by replanting precious woods on the verge of extinction, including Cristóbal and Guanacaste, the national tree.
INFO: Annie Drake – [email protected]