The #Brazilliant adventure tour
starring Jane Harvey-Berrick,
Stu Reardon, Franggy Yanes & GERGO JONAS
with The Gift Box Team,
Roberta and Esther
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HAVE YOU MISSED ANY OF The #Brazilliant adventure tour?
DAY ONE & TWO HERE
DAY THREE HERE & FOUR HERE
DAY FIVE HERE, SIX HERE & SEVEN HERE
DAY EIGHT HERE
🇧🇷 DAY NINE ~the #brazilliant adventures
The hot weather continues and I’m seriously tempted to spend the day by the pool, but it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to see more of this diverse and beautiful country.
Besides, I’m told that today’s trip is to a chocolate factory near the historic beach town of Ilhéus. Well, why didn’t you say?!
I imagine a smart, cool factory with melted chocolate being poured into moulds, and then invited to a tasting session.
Instead, our driver drops us off in a lush, green, hilly landscape, where the undergrowth steams from recent rain. This is the Yrerê cacao plantation where the beans that make chocolate are grown.
Cacao is a huge part of the economy in Bahia state. When the crop failed due to blight in the 1980s, only 20% of the plants survived and the price of chocolate shot up.
We slog upwards, some of us barefoot when the path becomes underwater until our guide leads us to a table full of cacao pods the size of Stu’s fist.
Using a machete, he opens them up one by one and invites us to suck the cacao beans covered in a sweet, pale flesh. It’s surprisingly delicious, even though it looks unappetising. They also make jam/jelly from this.
Squashing ants underfoot, we sweat our way through the dense foliage, the humidity and heat intense. Stu name’s me Jane of the Jungle due to my enormous floppy hat. I don’t care how dumb it looks; without it I’ll be even pinker. Even the Brazilian authors are uncomfortable in the heat, although Andy says that her home in the north near the Amazon is hotter!
At last, we head to the plantation house. First, we are shown the enormous sheds where they dry the beans for 15 days.
Then finally, blessed shade and a chance to drink cacao juice and taste chocolate.
Fran is in photography heaven, even though he has a heavy rucksack of equipment.
We taste sugared cacao beans, then 80% dark chocolate, 72% and 65%. It’s all good, and I’m left even more respectful of chocolate and the effort it takes to make it.
I buy souvenirs for friends and family, but it’s even money if the chocolate will make it back to the UK…
Tomorrow is a work day where I’ll interview as many of the team as I can. I guess being nosy about people puts me in the perfect place at the perfect time
More News tomorrow from our #brazilliant adventures when we hit the road again with @thegiftboxbr on my Facebook page and Kindle Friends Forever or in Portuguese at The Gift Box Blog and Jane Harvey-Berrick