Most of us associated fine chocolates with Belgium and Switzerland. But as we found out on our last trip to South America, Peru has become a serious contender in the world of chocolates with cacao beans that are turned into artisanal delicacies.
Located just two blocks from the central Plaza de Armas in Cusco, the ChocoMuseo is a must visit for any family or chocolate lover. Part museum, part cafe, it is worth a trip.
What You Will See
The ChocoMuseo is a chain operating in several Central and South American countries.
In the upstairs area, guests can view an interactive exhibit that details the history of cacao and chocolate. Perhaps most interesting is the history of chocolate in the Mayan and Aztec Empires (it was so valuable it was used as currency) and how they called it the “food of the gods.”
Downstairs, there is a cafe serving delicious hot chocolate concoctions.
But the part that most people come for, and that we most enjoyed, was the section where one can make their own chocolate.
The chocolate making section is a two-hour hands-on experience that takes guests from the bean to the final delicious result. The workshop also details chocolate’s history to its students.
First, students make and taste drinks prepared with straight cocoa beans. Visitors also roast, peel, and mash cocoa beans. Guests are allowed to get creative with their final chocolate masterpieces, with all the toppings and shapes imaginable.
In the end, visitors leave their chocolates in the fridge to pick up at the end of the day. Those interested in more specific aspects of chocolate artistry can sign up for classes in chocolate sculpting or truffle filling.
Our son with autism loved mashing the seeds and observing the process. He didn’t appreciate the instructor’s joke about needing a drop of his blood to get the chocolate cooking. She even brought a needle and pretended to poke him.
At the end of the day, travelers can go to the cafe and get a table with a view. The cafe serves thick hot chocolate in a bowl that diners mix with warm milk and seasonings. The cafe also offers delicious chocolate truffles and a Mochaccino made with Peruvian coffee beans.
All the cocoa beans used in this location are grown in a jungle near Machu Picchu. Local Peruvian farmers work with the Choco Museo to provide the best quality beans.
We brought home our self-made chocolate bar as our souvenir for the day.
Location, Hours, and Admission
The ChocoMuseo is located on the second floor at Garcilaso Street 210, off of Plaza Regocijo.The museum is open Monday-Sunday from nine am to seven pm, and the shop is open Monday-Sunday from eight am to eight pm.
The ChocoMuseo is free, but guests will likely spend some money to bring home their favorite chocolates or souvenirs.
Autism Travel Tips:
- The shop has a couple of seats on a small balcony overlooking Plaza Regocijo. Guests get a great view of the plaza and the surrounding hills, but it might not be safe for children.
- When ordering hot chocolate, diners get to mix it together themselves by adding the chocolate, milk, and any extras that come with it. The mixing can be fun for kids. However, children with dexterity issues might need assistance.
- The hands-on workshops are a great learning experience, but if two hours is too long, the interactive walk-through display is fascinating as well.
- We recommend signing up for workshops ahead of time.
- For clothing, no one in the family should wear clothes that stain.
- Visitors can see the ChocoMuseo from the plaza. However, they have to go around to Garcilaso Street 210 and up the stairs next to the courtyard to get to the museum on the second floor.
- Besides the steps to get to the second floor, there are also steps to get to the bathroom. Unfortunately, the area itself is not large. Therefore, it might be difficult for people with physical disabilities to get around.
- Because the location is also a little café, there are tables and chairs to sit and take a break if necessary.