Wednesday night I joined Toni & Michael Novack, who were going to dine overlooking a surfing beach at Cala. Tomas Blanno from Atlanta joined us…he was outside trying to meet with his Uber and a motorcycle rider snatched his phone out of his hand! I felt his pain, my phone was stolen last year. So I invited him to join us and we taxied (no Uber!) to Cala. The view was very nice…a seagull stared at our table for quite a while, but there was a barrier (he could have flown over it into the restaurant, but didn’t), and there were lots of surfers out. As the sun went down (it was overcast, so not much of a sunset), the “Cruz de Chorillos”, a big cross overlooking the coast lit up and lights hit the surf. The food was good…I had fresh fish and veggies, and the whole fish, while a bit bony, was fresh and delicious…so was the bread…and everyone seemed to enjoy their meals and the company. As seems to be usual at dinner, Pisco Sours were delivered to each diner..Pisco being a national drink here. It’s made from grapes but fermented grapes are distilled into a high proof liquor. And it is everywhere!
Yesterday (Thursday), after my match, Toni found me and we put a load of laundry into my apartment’s washer, then went to find the “Museo de Chocolat), which really is just a chocolate store and restaurant unless you join a chocolate making class. We were more into chocolate eating, but did get a quick education into chocolate making:
- Harvest the cacao pods (a fruit) from the trees (which grow within 20 degrees of the equator)
- Open the pods and take out the seeds/beans
- Clean the beans and let dry till they turn a purplish cover
- Ferment by covering with banana leaves 2-9 days
- Dry for 7-14 days under hot sun, after which they are ready for shipping
- Beans are cleaned, roasted and the shell removed so the nibs are left
- Nibs are then ground into cocoa mass, solid at room temperature; placed under high pressure the mass is separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder or combined with more cocoa butter and sweetener to make chocolate
- Dark chocolate is cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar; milk chocolate is the same plus milk powder; white chocolate is milk chocolate without cocoa powder.
- Next it’s mixed or coached carefully under heat
- The last step is tempering and molding.
- Click here for more information
We sampled various chocolates, from 87% to milk…in Peru I have seen mostly 70% dark or milk chocolate but not much in between. I bought some dark with spicy chiles…delicious and you cannot eat it too fast!
After the Chocolate Museum, we were going to go shopping but instead joined Luisa to go to the Huaca Pucllana Site Museum. We finally managed to get a taxi and arrived at the site only to find out it was closed on Thursdays. It is a site with remains of a clay & adobe stepped pyramid from the Lima Culture (200–700 A.D.). We were able to see quite a lot from the windows of the restaurant though. And Luisa and Toni talked to another Taxi driver who took us on a private tour to Chorillos (a district of Lima, as is Miraflores and Barrancos), up to El Morro Soler (where the big lighted cross was located, the one we saw from afar at the restaurant the night before. There’s also a big statute of Christ. The drive up was a bit bouncy (Toni was not happy), but we arrived in one piece and it was worth the drive for the view. On the way down, Toni and Luisa joined a tick-tock filming session!
We continued towards Barrancos, a district known for its murals, the Bridge of Sighs (currently closed), several churches and lots of restaurants. We took photos, when back to Miraflores. There are 43 districts in Lima…now we have seen about four, the three yesterday and the historical center area.
On the way to Barrancos, we drove along the coast and stopped to watch a man jump off the cliff…apparently he does this for a living. More amazing than the jump was how quickly he scaled the rock back up!