Thursday, November 19, 2009

Volcan Masaya

Ken and Kathy converged on Nicaragua last week. They each had obligations in New Orleans in consecutive weeks and given the nonstop Continental Houston-Managua express, much to Lily and Josh's agreement they dedicated the intervening weekend to exploring Nicaragua. One of the many highlights was our spontaneous sunset visit to the Masaya Volcano, just 30 minutes Northwest of Granada. Since we haven't posted much content on our blog in the past couple of weeks, we wanted to put something up to quench the insatiable thirst of our readers (anyone out there?). Perhaps we will invite the K's to a "guest post" on Amor y Chocolate.

Here are some of images of this surreal visit offering 360 degree views of the Managua-Granada area of Nicaragua. We hiked to the rim of several craters, visited an ancient lava tunnel, a bat cave home to more than 20,000 bats. After the sun had set giving way to a crystal clear vantage of the starry night (plus planets), we edged to the rim of the active crater, gazing down some 2,000 feet to see the red-orange lava glow.

Sun sets behind the active volcano

Lily, Kathy and Josh aprovechando la vista

Lily prepares for spelunking (with bats and lava... really a match made in heaven)
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Fruits of labor

Xoco General Manager Juan Carlos Saenz cuts open a fermented and dried special fenotype of Xoco beans.

The pecan-like center shows a through fermentaion and drying.

Damn it tastes good!
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Genetic modification, au natural

Here is a brief walk-through of a fine cacao nursery process.

Step 1: Grow scion trees (recipients of the graft) with carefully selected seeds from conventional (forastero) cacao, known for its rapid development and strong root structure.

Step 2: Once the scion is mature, an experienced grafter slits the bark...

...and neatly places the bud from the fine cacao tree in the slot.

Discarded genetic material
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