Exploring Cacao and Chocolate Making in Costa Rica is an opportunity to join Julio Fernández Amón and Steve DeVries for an intimate experience in a cacao growing region exploring fine-flavor cacao and chocolate making. Your chocolate making will benefit from a deeper understanding of cacao cultivation and processing, and how this impacts bean flavor and quality.
Our Ecole Chocolat Graduate Programs only accommodate a limited number of students and are usually full, with a waiting list. As the programs involve a travel component, we need to contact those on the waiting list in enough time so they can make travel arrangements. If you have to cancel, we'll do everything in our power to find a replacement but can't guarantee that we'll be successful. No refunds will be given after 45 days prior to the program start date. Make sure you're totally committed to the program before paying your registration fee. We also suggest that you take out travel insurance when booking your travel to and from the program country, in case of an emergency.
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Julio Fernández Amón (on the right above) of Sibu Chocolate is eager to share local insight on his country’s past and present with signature humor and sincerity.
For Julio and his partner George Soriano, starting a chocolate business that features only organically grown cacao from Costa Rica became his way of helping protect the natural world, as well as a way to spark new interest in a growing industry for his home country. He also hopes his business will highlight the importance of cacao to Mesoamerican cultures throughout the ages.
Today, they have the only chocolate business in the country that features chocolate made from fine organic Costa Rican cacao from a single plantation.
Steve De Vries opened De Vries Chocolate with a tag line of “one hundred years behind the times” in 2005 after six years of studying chocolate – for three years as an intense hobby and three years full time.
Steve is intimately involved in the whole process of chocolate making, from working directly with growers to being hands-on with the manufacturing process using all antique equipment. He has learned that with chocolate, changes in production processes can mean major improvements in flavor.
He produces both bulk chocolate for use by chefs, candy makers and chocolatiers as well as consulting for many different chocolate makers around the globe.
Costarica cacao farmer.
Orchard with half barrel tram line for cacao pods.
Comparison of ripeness in harvested cacao pods.
Close up view of fermenting cacao beans.
Feeling the heat of cacao bean fermentation.
Cocoa bean cut test to check for good fermentation.
Costarica cocoa beans.
Cocoa beans cut open.
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