Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mindo -- Chocolate, Flowers, and Miscellaneous

Our first day in Mindo we took a tour of a chocolate factory.  The tour was fun and the tasting afterwards was even more fun.

Our tour guide, Jorge, is describing the process of drying the cocoa beans.  (Isn't he cute?)

The view from the balcony at the factory.

The roasting process.

The roasted, cracked beans are sifted several times to make sure all the shells are separated from the nibs.

The ground up chocolate get mixed for a very long time in mixers (photos taken through glass, darn)

The tempering process is done by hand and takes several hours of stirring to get the chocolate to the right crystalline structure (I think I got that right).  Then it gets poured, very quickly, into the molds you see behind the bowl.

When we were all finished with the tour, we went to the balcony where we did a lovely tasting that included pure chocolate syrup with little added flavorings and finished off with a brownie.  I didn't get any pictures of that because I was too busy eating.  Mmm, mmm, good.

Most of the pictures I got of flowers include birds or butterflies with them but I have some that are just by themselves.  Enjoy.

These are orchids that hang down like this all over the place.  In some places they're so thick they look like a curtain.

 I love the way these ferns split at the ends.

Then there are those photos that just don't really have a category but I couldn't resist anyway.
This jug was tucked behind a wall at the butterfly preserve and I just loved how it looked.

One of the many wood carvings at our hostal

I loved this metal sculpture.

If you simply must leave rebar hanging out on top of buildings, the least you can do is decorate it.

There's art everywhere here...

...even in the railings.

Stay tuned for more photos essays from Mindo.

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