By Kearston Winrow
MONTEVERDE, Costa Rica-The smell of roasted coca beans, the precise crunching of shells, and the loud grinding sound of milk chocolate could all be heard in the Caburé Chocolate Factory located in the mountains of Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Caburé lacks the immensity and fantasy of Willy Wonka’s sweet oasis, but it makes up for it in charm and finesse. This particular chocolate factory has just 5 stations. Even more surprising is that one man is the driving force in producing the finest chocolate in all of Monterverde and surrounding cities.
Bob Carlson, a local chocolate artesian and the owner of the factory, enjoys making chocolate, has fun while going through the process, and ensures that each step he takes adds to the overall quality of his chocolate.
Choosing the best cocoa beans is key in making the best quality chocolate, Carlson said. This step can make or break the entire process.
“I spend 2 to 3 hours going through the beans,” he said.
The beans and how they are handled are a very important part of the process in making great chocolate, Carlson said.
“You have to ferment the beans and then allow 2 to 3 weeks to dry. If the time is too short, then the chocolate will taste sour. And if the time is too long, the chocolate will mold.”
Once Carlson has selected the best beans, he takes them back to his factory to start making chocolate. Carlson is precise in his process of making chocolate. To make sure that the chocolate taste good, he has to make sure he doesn’t have too much of one ingredient and too little of another. He even makes sure the surface and the room temperature are perfect so that the chocolate can melt and harden in the scheduled time.
Every step Carlson takes in making his chocolate is to ensure the lasting quality that tourist and the local community can enjoy.