If you’re traveling to Peru and have a sweet tooth, these are the must-see places to learn about the origins of cacao and to taste exceptional chocolate.
Peru has six of the genetic varieties of cacao that exist in the world. It’s no wonder Peruvian chocolate has won multiple awards internationally year after year. In fact, one of the world’s rarest and most prized varieties of cacao bean was re-discovered in Peru.
Here are 5 spots that chocolate lovers must experience in Peru.
1. El Cacaotal in Barranco
This delightful shop in Barranco houses more than 40 national chocolate brands and a breadth of knowledge about the small cacao producers behind each bar and their places of origin. This is what makes El Cacaotal so special.
The owner, an authority on all things cacao and chocolate, created an experiential space where visitors will be able to learn and taste samples. With so many varieties, this is an essential part of figuring out your own flavor profile and finding the right chocolate bar for yourself (or to gift loved ones along the way).
2. ChocoMuseo in Cusco and Lima
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“Nice memories are like chocolate: you can’t survive on them alone, as they aren’t very filling, but they make life sweeter.” ~ Janine Weger • • We made chocolates! [Bean to Bar workshop]… And tried Pisco cacao, Mayan cacao, conquistador cacao, cacao tea, and had some rich brownies?! • • #beantobarchocolate
As the name suggests, this is the place to go for an interactive history lesson on the cacao tree. The ChocoMuseo has its own artisanal chocolate factory at each location (where they make chocolate bars, chocolate tea, and chocolate desserts) as well as chocolate-making workshops that will put you in the driver seat.
You can find the ChocoMuseo in: Cusco city, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Lima – Miraflores, and Lima – Historic Center.
2. Exotic in Tarapoto
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Llegó el día!!!…Hoy presentamos oficialmente la nueva identidad de Exotic! Gracias a todos los que nos acompañaron y a los que nos hicieron llegar toda su mejor energía ?????✨ . . . #ExoticChocolate #CacaoParaTransformar #ChocolatePeru #CacaoSanMartin #GuardianasDeLaSelva
Located off the main plaza in Tarapoto, Exotic is considered the first fine chocolate shop in town (it’s been more than eight years since they opened). It’s definitely one of the must-see places in Peru for chocoholics.
Armed with a recent re-branding that pays tribute to the tropical origins of the product, Exotic aims to shine a light on the fine cacao from the San Martín region, and the women working behind the scenes in the business: from cacao growers to the women making the truffles with local ingredients like ají charapita, maracumango, aguaymanto, camu camu and coconut.
3. Magia Piura in Piura
Buenos Aires, Morropón is the origin place of the cacao used by Magia Piura, a brand that helped put this regional cacao on the international map. With its shop in Piura city, the brand has also helped educate locals on the distinctive taste of the white cacao of Morropón.
In 2018, just one year after the brand was created, Magia Piura won gold medals for their 49% lúcuma bar and 79% cacao mucilage bar (a type of honey by-product of the processing of the beans). Those residing in Lima can do personal orders of their the chocolate-base desserts and truffles which use other local ingredients from Piura like mango.
4. Helena Chocolatier in Lima
Helena Chocolatier is a longtime artisanal chocolate shop named after its founder, Elena Soler. This is one of the most well-known Peruvian chocolate brands both nationally and internationally.
Helena is famous for its tejas, a rectangular bon bon filled with manjar blanco (a variation of dulce de leche), different types of nuts or fruits, and covered with either chocolate or fondant icing. You can find their wide variety of chocolates in most supermarkets in Peru and in their shops across Lima and Ica, where it all started.
5. Chaqchao Chocolates in Arequipa
One of the must-see places in Peru for chocoholics is Chaqchao Chocolates in Arequipa. The organic, bean-to-bar company operates a cafe with great views and just as impressive chocolate treats. Why not pair your homemade dessert with coffee or one of the 60 different kinds of craft beer they carry?
Chaqchao also produces organic cocoa butter cosmetics for those dry, sierra nights. If his wasn’t enough, you can also partake in one of their workshops to create a chocolate treat of your own.
Without a doubt, chocoholics are in for an impressive gastronomic experience in Peru. By hitting these must-see places, chocolate lovers will not leave disappointed.
Cover photo: Magia Piura Facebook Page
This article has been updated from the original version published on November 28, 2017.
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