If you’re looking for amazing, locally sourced chocolate, look no further. Chaqchao makes all organic, stone-ground, and handmade chocolate that is to die for.
The name Chaqchao is a play on the Quechua word for chewing combined with chocolate, which suits the place perfectly. The business opened in 2004 by selling its goods at local organic and vegan markets or festivals in Arequipa. The following year, they opened their chocolate factory.
The restaurant is currently joining with Alpandina, a prominent culinary group in Arequipa, to create a higher-quality dining experience and attract new patrons.
The owner was inspired to open their shop and cafeteria because most chocolate available in Peru was either imported, mass-produced, or not artisanal nor organic. The owner also wanted to support Peruvian cacao farmers, since cacao farming provides many with an alternative to farming coca. Many farmers seem to be happier to be growing a healthier product that doesn’t carry a negative stigma with it.
Chaqchao is centrally located on Calle Santa Catalina, less than one block from the Monastery and one block from the main plaza. This cafeteria-style restaurant/café is located on the second floor inside the courtyard, but they also have a shop on the lower level where you can buy chocolates, soaps, and even lip balm made of local, organic ingredients. In the shop, you can also check out the factory where the chocolate is made. Chaqchao shares the lower courtyard with an antique shop and the popular Las Gringas restaurant, who they are affiliated with.
The upstairs seating area has both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating has low-set bench-like seats with low tables made of wooden pallets, glass, and marble, and there is an awning overhead to keep you out of the sun. The indoor seating area is a cool respite from Arequipa’s hot sun with comfortable wicker chairs and tables. You can also sit in the downstairs seating area, which belongs to Las Gringas, if you’re feeling so inclined.
Everything about Chaqchao gives a feeling of a laid-back afternoon out of the sun. There is additional balcony seating to sip your tea or coffee overlooking Calle Santa Catalina, and as a bonus, there are books in multiple languages and games that guests can use while hanging out! Chaqchao also offers a Chocolate Workshop (S/65) where you can learn everything about making chocolate, from bean to bar as they say, and make your own tasty treats to take home. Classes are offered every day at 11:00 a.m. or 2:45 p.m.
Because Chaqchao is affiliated with Las Gringas, you can order food straight off Las Gringa’s menu, which is also provided when you enter the cafeteria upstairs. They have everything from salads and sandwiches to pizzas and pasta. You order first at the counter, have a seat wherever you like, and the friendly staff will bring your food and drinks out to you.
Chaqchao’s desserts are plentiful. They have many different kinds of cakes, cookies, and brownies for you to choose from.
If you’re a chocolate lover, this slice of heaven is for you. The Raspberrie & Peanut Butter (S/7) is a rich portion of all things good. Pure, organic chocolate, tart raspberries, and savory peanut butter is topped with a gorgeous display of nuts. You’ll definitely savor each bite.
The Torta de Plátano (S/7) made me a bit nostalgic. The cake itself is a glorified banana bread, but so much better than what I remember from home. With layers of Chaqchao’s amazing, organic chocolate and topped with a banana slice, this cake is divine.
The drink bar has an extensive array of cold and hot drinks. There are multiple types of coffee (hot or cold), teas, smoothies, plus 23 artisan Peruvian beers (some on tap). The English Breakfast Tea (S/6) is a lovely blend of high-quality black teas, and the Choco Banana Smoothie (S/14) was an amazing treat in and of itself.
This laid-back cafeteria-style café is the perfect place to relax and grab a sweet treat. Make sure to check it out if you are in the area, and be sure to check out our review of Las Gringas, too!
Santa Catalina 204, Cercado de Arequipa
Phone: (51) 54 234 572
Email: [email protected]
Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Hot Drinks: S/4 – S/15
Cold Drinks: S/4 – S/30
Brunch Menu: S/13 – S/18
Pizzas: S/25 – S/35
Desserts: S/2 – S/8