Things To Do Around Cabarete: Kah Kow

El Sendero De Cacao, Cacao Plantation At San Francisco de Macorís
By Melanie Kiss

Cabarete is a town that offers so many wonderful activities, from Yoga to Kite surf, Crossfit style classes to trapeze, aerial silks to language lessons and the list goes on and on. Travelers have quite a lot of different activities to choose from in Cabarete. But for the days when one wishes to step out of this magical town, one must know of some wonderful things that can be done around Cabarete.

I will tell you about one of my favourite excursions. I had recently gone to a Cacao plantation, called El Sendero De Cacao to get the ultimate Kah Kow experience. The drive was a couple of hours, going through windy roads up to the mountains, getting views one can only dream of. Then passing through small local towns absorbing the culture of this beautiful island. Not to mention the lovely fruit stands where you can stop off for a healthy snack.

cacao fruit

The entrance to El Sendero De Cacao is simply beautiful. It opens up to a long driving where cacao trees are a dime a dozen. The main house is covered in beautiful vibrant colours and there is a cacao bar where they await you with delicious warm chocolate milk or chocolate water that is bursting with flavour.

The tour begins at the start of the plantation, where a lovely guide explains to you the plantation of the cacao trees. There are two methods that are used and both with pros and cons. Then you continue on into the plantation where they explain to you the different cacao pods and how they are harvested. During the process one can never ask to many questions, or try to many cacao fruit. I was on a high from the delicious floral flavour of the cacao fruit and simply could not get enough. As this time of year is low season and they only harvest about 20 % of their crops, January to June is their high season where they harvest the remaining 80%.

Throughout the tour of the plantation they also explain the different problems that can arise with the crops, such as certain animals and insects having a little too much fun eating the fruit. For this reason, they have scarecrows in place for the birds and boa Hispaniola snake for the mice.

Upon harvesting the cacao fruit, the seeds are placed into wooden boxes to begin the fermentation process. After several days, they get transferred from box to another box. As El Sendero De Cacao is an organic plantation, no chemicals are used for this process. Then comes the dehydration in the sun, where 97% of the seeds are dried out. At this point, the seeds can be eaten, which remains in a raw state to enjoy all the wonderful benefits cacao has to offer. The shells of the seeds are mainly used for tea and the cacao pods are used for organic fermentation.

Once the cacao is dried, the remaining 3% is then dried in a large oven style machine. Then the chocolate processing begins. The cacao nibs are then ground to a paste and then the ingredients are added as it is heated for several days. Depending on the type of chocolate, the higher the cacao percentage, the less ingredients get added. What is super great about Kah Kow is that they do not use dairy in their white chocolate. They use almond, coconut milk and of course cacao butter.

After this lovely tour you get to make your own chocolate. I chose a fun elephant design and needless to say ate it before we got home. The taste of pure organic chocolate is one of a kind. The strong flavour of cacao really places a tune on your taste buds. Mother nature really knows how to provide the ingredients to an immaculate invention.

This tour is a wonderful mixture of experience and education. Getting the behind the scenes look at one of our favourite delicacies is a very interesting experience. Especially seeing the healthy way of chocolate making.

I would recommend this tour and experience to journey out of Cabarete for those interested in learning a little bit about the cacao fruit and the art of making organic gourmet chocolate!