Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic

Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic

Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic at Chocal – a women run coop

With the lack of job prospects for women in the Dominican Republic, a group of independent minded women decided to create their own opportunity of employment by creating their own chocolate cooperative called Chocal. With the help of local nonprofit organizations like IDDI and Fathom Cruise, the women at Chocal were able to start a successful business that supports local farmers and even the children from the cooperative shareholders. In collaboration with Fathom cruise, I took a tour of Chocal to learn about and experience the chocolate making process and also find out more about this group enterprising group of women.

 

Chocolate tour at Chocal in the Dominican Republic

Chocal in Altamira

Located in the remote hills of Altamira just outside of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, Chocal is probably the only women’s run group in this mostly agriculture based region. Run by local women from Altamira, Chocal supports the local economy by buying local cacao beans from farmers and hiring the children of some of the women in the group. The positive effects also include flexible working hours for the women who can attend to family needs and gain life work experience at the factory.

Video highlights visiting the Chocal factory

During my visit and tour of the Chocal chocolate factory, I created a quick video tour of the facility along with the impact work experience.  Here are some highlights below to give you a better idea about visiting Chocal in Altamira.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate tour at Chocal in the Dominican Republic

 

The chocolate making process and impact experience

As part of the impact process at Chocal, we first took a tour of the facility and had a wonderful welcome. After the meet and greet with some of the women of Chocal, we broke up into four separate groups to understand and participate in each segment of the chocolate making process. The first part involves separating the bulk cacao from the skins, twigs and imperfect beans into smaller batches. Afterwards, we tried some delicious hot chocolate and then sorted through the roasted cacao nibs to take out more excess skins and burnt or imperfect cacao. Following this, we then got to watch a worker temper the chocolate into a ready state and she showed us how to use molds to create each chocolate. We then get to try the process of placing the tempered chocolate into the molds while taking out air bubbles and cleaning excess chocolate from the molds.  The last part of the process involves packaging helping employees that were putting the wrappers on while we boxed them and we also sorted through burnt corn kernels for another food product being sold. The entire impact work experience was fairly easy and we did the mundane work of processing the cacao seeds so the women could actively work on the more advanced chocolate making that required more time.

 

 

 

Chocolate tour at Chocal in the Dominican Republic

 

 

Cacao sorting at Chocal in the Dominican Republic

Sorting out imperfect cacao beans

 

Sorting chocolate at Chocal in the Dominican Republic

Impact from the chocolate experience

Even though the social impact from going through the different segments on the chocolate tour were good but nomimal, most of the impact came from purchasing products from their store. Fathom cruise also helps with logistics with guides and the drivers to bring in the visitors along with selling the chocolate in their stores and ship. Taking part in the chocolate making experience and tour helps support the women’s cooperative by purchasing their chocolate and actively participating in Fathom’s cruise program.

 

Sorting chocal at Chocal in the Dominican Republic

 

Setting chocolate into molds

 

Packing chocolate at Chocal

 

 

Creating the beautiful finished Chocal product

 

Colorful Chocal packaging in the Dominican Republic

Trying a chocolate wine from Chocal

 

Chocolate wine Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic

 

 

 

 

Fathom Cruise Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic

Fathom cruise and discount

Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic.   If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post. Hopefully the visit to Chocal will inspire you to find out more about the social impact programs offered by Fathom Cruises and visit the Chocal Women’s cooperative.  The tour experience and impact programs are coordinated by Fathom cruises and they currently are offering some fantastic deals on their cruises to the Dominican Republic. Check out Fathom’s website here for more details on how to get some amazing discounts on their cruises to the Dominican Republic and hopefully you will also be able to participate in some wonderful social impact/volunteer programs in the Dominican Republic.

Disclosure: This post has an affiliate link that supports my site at no additional cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

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15 Responses to Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic

  1. Jim Silva June 3, 2017 at 8:23 am #

    How can I order some of their chocolate?

    • Noel June 5, 2017 at 4:00 am #

      They only sell in the island for now unfortunately

  2. Alice Reyes January 15, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Would have been helpful if you told us where to purchase these bars or attached a link. Would have help the Chocal Factory & us!
    Searched but couldn’t find these particular bars. Sad!

  3. Lynn Belles May 31, 2016 at 4:20 am #

    When we were there a young man spoke with us during one of the tasks that we helped with – he said that his mother taught him that “if you want to find good people, you have to be one!” His name was “Isidro” and he is wise beyond his years!

  4. Jaillan Yehia May 30, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Very cool – I did a chocolate tour in Nicaragua and it was one of the most fun things during my trip, it’s great to see you can do something like this in the DR!

  5. Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad May 30, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    SO happy to see this! I just came back from my own social impact Fathom cruise and it changed my life.

    My activities were all geared toward teaching English, but every one of the people that participated on this cruise were touched by each of the volunteering excursions they took part of.

    I can’t wait to go back on the ship and do this all over again! And try this chocolate, since I didn’t get to this time 😉

    -Maria Alexandra

  6. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go May 24, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    We spent several weeks in the Dominican Republic last year and were impressed with its beauty, the friendliness of the people as well as the terrible poverty, especially in the rural areas. It’s great to learn about the women’s co-op of Chocal and its positive impact on the women’s families as well as the community.

  7. Vicki Winters May 24, 2016 at 1:25 am #

    We eat chocolate without realizing what the process real y entails. Thanks for sharing this experience. It was great being on board Fathom cruise with you too!’

  8. Sue Reddel May 23, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    Wonderful company! Loved your story and your gorgeous photos would love to visit one day.

  9. The GypsyNesters May 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    Didn’t get to do the chocolate factory, but it looks like it was just as cool as the rest of the activities on the Fathom cruise. Very impressed with the job they have done.

  10. Jo May 23, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    So good to see struggling communities being helped and what better product than chocolate. I learnt much from this informative and beautiful post.

  11. Karyn Locke May 23, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    Wow! Such gorgeous photos! I’ve always wanted to take a trip to the DR,- looks like I’ve got another reason to go!

  12. Donna Janke May 23, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    This is a great look at the Chocal chocolate cooperative. I’m hoping to take this tour with Fathom later in June. You’ve made me even more excited to do so.

  13. Suzanne Fluhr May 23, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    I learned a little about chocolate attending a chocolate festival in Honolulu in 2014. Your experience in the Dominican Republic took you even closer to the process and it is heart warming to see that such a beloved product can help struggling communities. As always, your photos and video are worth a thousand words—not that your words are not also enlightening. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chocolate tour in the Dominican Republic - Top Exotic Places - July 3, 2016

    […] Visiting a chocolate factory at Chocal in the Dominican Republic with Fathom Cruises. This women’s run cooperative sustains and drives the economy in this mostly poor agriculture region but is run by the local women in this group – a very inspiring and delicious tour travelphotodiscov… […]

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