Day 4 we spent hanging around Iyarina Lodge. We took a short walk to a jungle filled with cacao pods and got to harvest them! We had to look for the pods that had a reddish-yellow color which meant that they were ready to be harvested. The entire inside is full of seeds covered in a fruity texture. You can take each pod and eat that fruit before saving the seed to make chocolate. Then, an expert came in to take cacao seeds and make chocolate with them. We roasted them over a fire, crushed them into powder, mixed it with the other ingredients over the fire again, and had it with bananas. It was really interesting to see a simplified version of how chocolate is made.
After that, we swung in the hammocks and listened to the Rio Napo flowing by. I am definetly investing in a hammock when we get back to Pittsburgh for those warm days. Then, we got to do another chocolate tasting and hear from the company Kallari Chocolate who work with indigenous sustainable agriculture. They directly work with the Kichwa communities in the Amazon. We also got to do a chocolate tasting with them where we tried their product and then another chocolate brand which has less “real” cacao. For the first time, I tasted Hershey’s Chocolate and didn’t like it at all compared to Kallari’s milk chocolate brand (sorry Pennsylvania).
That night, we packed our carry-on to stay deeper in the rainforest. I was a little nervous I wouldn’t have everything I needed and how the living situation would be but I guess we’ll see 🙂