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.
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.
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.
Sorting out imperfect cacao beans
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.
Setting chocolate into molds
Creating the beautiful finished Chocal product
Trying a chocolate wine from Chocal
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.