Chocolate indulgence in the Dominican Republic
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
It’s the Dominican Republic’s sweetest deal. And if you’re a chocolate lover (and who isn’t?) it just might be reason enough to book a stay at RIU’s all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana.
That’s because guests at the Spanish all-inclusive resort chain’s playgrounds have exclusive access to Chocolate & CIA, a chocolate workshop and boutique on Caribbean Street in the beachfront complex that houses RIU Naiboa, RIU Bambu, RIU Palace Bavaro, RIU Palace Macao and RIU Palace Punta Cana.
The two-month old store is a mecca for chocoholics, who can learn how farmers in the D.R. (which is one of the world’s largest producers of organic cacao) cultivate their crops before export to international brands such as Lindt, Nestlé, Valrhona and Godiva.
During the workshop you’ll taste and prepare cocoa beans plucked directly from the fresh fruit pod; hand-grind roasted beans with a mortar and pestle; and then make your own artisanal chocolate bar, topped with a spectrum of sweet and savory fixings that ranges from rainbow sprinkles to shredded coconut and flaked chili pepper.
The shop refrigerates your creation, and in under an hour you walk away with a unique souvenir of your Caribbean vacay that you can proudly say you made yourself.
But the sweetest part of the hour-long class isn’t your tasty takeaway, it’s the price: just 15 bucks! Of course, you’ll likely be tempted to spend at least that on Chocolate & CIA’s line of gourmet food and bath and body products, which includes everything from bars to chocolate wine to chocolate lip balm and hair conditioner. But can you put a price on chocolate-induced happiness?
We think not.