Tasting the Fruits of Chocolate – Cacao – in Tabasco, Mexico

Ever visit a place where chocolate is “grown” and processed? Ever take a Choco Tour?

Well I did in Tabasco, Mexico at Hacienda La Luz and I can’t recommend it enough, especially for the chance to try the Cacao fruit.

Craig Zabransky Staying Adventurous in Tabasco Holding a Cacao Fruit

Holding Cacao – it’s a fruit

We All Visit Vineyards

Through the course of my travels, I stopped in to numerous wineries and always leave with more appreciative about the wine, the wine making process and often find myself with a smile post any tasting.  Visiting wineries and tasting the wines remains a growing passion and often a stop on my adventures from discovering the wines of Santorini, Greece to driving through the Blue Ridge Mountain vineyards.  There is something about a walk through rows of growing grapes, listening to descriptions of the wines, seeing the stages of production – it just makes the tastes and memory so much better.

Haceinda La Luz

Haceinda La Luz

Recently in Tabasco, Mexico I discovered the same holds true for chocolate. Yes, the delicious and often sinful delicacy of chocolate. And after a guided walk through cacao trees, tasting the fruit (one never tastes the grapes, do you?) and then learning the process of separating, drying, roasting and then eventually making chocolate – became a perfect way to spend an afternoon.  I discovered this joy (and found the light) at Hacienda La Luz.

Hacienda La Luz in Comalcalco, Tabasco, Mexico

From Cacao to Chocolate at Hacienda La Luz

Taking the Tour at Hacienda La Luz near Colmalco in Tabasco, Mexico

After walking the Mayan site at Comalcalco, an ancient city known for its chocolate, we visited a more recent historic site – Hacienda La Luz to once again walk through chocolate history but also taste it as well. The plantation still grows the cacao fruit tree among other trees and harvests it to make Mexican Chocolate on site.  As mentioned in an interview on Staying Adventurous in Tabasco, the tree is grown among other spices and fruit trees to help maintain a healthy product as the tour took us through to sample, sniff and see known harvested items such as cinnamon, all spice, vanilla and more.

But the most delightful and unique part of the outside stroll across the plantation grounds was the opportunity to open up, touch and taste the raw cacao fruit. The white soft texture of the nibs with a nutty inside (the source of the chocolate) seemed nothing like the chocolate bar one buys at the market.  Plenty of processing is required to make this fruit into the product we eat today.

Cacao Fruit grows on a Cacao Tree in Tabasco, Mexico

Grows on the Trees

the Cacao fruit photo taken in tabasco mexico

pick a cacao of the tree

a look inside the Caco Fruit in Colmalco, Tabasco, Mexico at Hacienda La luz

Inside the Cacao Fruit

inside the white fruit of the Cacao, you find a nutty center and its purple

Inside the white fruit, there is a nutty center – the origin of Chocolate


After the nibs are removed, dried and then roasted, only then does it start to resemble chocolate in color, but the sweetness needs to be added along with a milk to make milk chocolate.  This was a step the Mayans didn’t do, but started in Europe once the product was exported across the Atlantic. Today many the chocolate bars we find in stores and also all the available options on site at Hacienda La Luz (under the Quetzal name) listed percentages, with a 100% being pure dark (or original) chocolate.

drying Nibs of Chocolate in Comalcalco, Tabasco Mexico at Hacienda La Luz

Drying the Nibs from inside the Cacao Fruit

Roasting the Chocolate

Our second tast in the process. Next was the chocolate itself.

Stay Amazed

Yet, what amazed me wasn’t the tasting of the chocolate or the processing with its drying and roasting process, but rather the unique flavorful fruit from the Cacao itself.  This soft sensuous white fruit provides a completely different sensation to the taste and touch senses. I marvel at how this became chocolate. And although it’s come a long way from its Mayan roots, powders and drinks are still made and offered as a refreshment in many places in Mexico. In fact the “souvenir” shop provided free samples of such “cocktails of the gods” – delicious.

inside the cacao fruit

award winning chocolate from tabasco Mexico located at Hacienda La Luz

photo credit: Hacienda La Luz via twitter

It never was high on my list to explore the stages of chocolate and to be honest I am more of a vanilla guy (another product native to Mexico). And when selecting my social impact excursions on my Fathom Travel sailings, I never thought to select working for chocolate, but many did, and I bore witness to their smiles. Sure, smiles exist from the tastings, and we all know wines can make most of smile, but I discovered it was deeper, it was the chance to understand the stages, see the entire process and be a part of the creation of the delicious delicacy.  The souvenir shop appreciated my wonder after my tour, as it did for most of us. We all left with an edible souvenir or two.

Stay Tasting the World, Craig

This was part of my day of Adventure in Tabasco during my hosted trip to  ATMEX 2017. The words,most photos, and all opinions are as always my own.

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  • william b kaliher

    Great article on chocolate– most informative–

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Gracias Gringo Bill…. hope you are enjoying some Mexican Chocolate with all those cigars…. Stay sweet, Craig

      • william b kaliher

        Craig: I knew of the chocolate in Chiapas but Tabasco surprised me–was glad to learn that–just had 2 tourists bring back 200 cigars for me— was lucky to find 2 who’d be there two weeks so i could have those cigars delivered to them to bring back for me—have a great weekend–where ever u r exploring now–look forward to next posts

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