Category Archives: Cusco

Chocolate Pisco

I woke up at 9:30 am on November 27, 2012 to find Ivan awake.  He’s so used to waking up early for the Inca Trail that’s why he was up since 6 am.

We used the internet and I worked on the blog.  Lil Dave told us about his adventures on the Inca Trail.  He had a fun time with his uncle.  He climbed up Dead Monkey’s Pass.  He enjoyed drinking banana pisco and getting to see Machu Picchu.

Lunch was at Prana Raw Food Bar.  Lil Dave got banana ceviche with a banana salad.  Ivan and I shared tacos, a Prana salad and mango ceviche.  The meal was average.  Usually raw food is inventive with their dishes, but these were rather ordinary.

Lil Dave wanted to explore Cusco more.  Ivan and I walked to the Choco Museum.  We were given a complimentary cup of choco tea.  Today, we were taking the From Bean to Bar class where we get to make our own chocolate bars.

The class consisted of us and an Australian couple.  The teacher was a man named Manuel.  He talked about the cocoa bean and showed us a model of a cocoa tree. 


We started off with the bean where we had to roast them until they started popping.  Next, we had to take off the shells.  The beans are called nibs at this point.

The group each got a mortar and pestle filled with beans.  Each of us had to grind the beans to try to make a paste.  Ivan and the Aussie guy made the best pastes.  The rest of the beans were ground up in a grinder. 

Manuel made two different drinks with the pastes.  One was really tasty with llama milk.

The chocolate powder is then mixed with different things like milk, sugar and vanilla.  Manuel showed us the machine that mixes, refines and conches the powder for 24 hours. 

The chocolate is then tempered on marble slabs to the right temperature.  The next step is mixing it.

We got to choose templates for the size of our chocolates.  Ivan picked small ones with different sizes while mine were diamond shaped.


Each of us got to pick the fillings like garlic, coconut, M&M’s, Oreo’s, mint, milk (to make milk chocolate) and chili.  Manuel recommended how much to put in each chocolate.  We got to work putting in the fillings and the dark chocolate.  After we were done, we put our name on the template.

The chocolates wouldn’t be ready for an hour.  Ivan said he’d be back later.  The chocolate making class was a lot of fun.


I definitely recommend this if you’re ever in Cusco.

Ivan walked me to Samana Spa.  I had a relaxing full body massage and a facial.  Ivan went to the post office, walked around the city and picked up the chocolates while I was at the spa.

We tried our chocolates at the hotel.  They were tasty, but you couldn’t really taste the ingredients.. we should have put a lot more.  Some of the chocolates just tasted like dark chocolate.

That night, we had dinner at Museo del Pisco.  Ivan and I each had a Pisco cocktail.  We also shared a salad with strawberries, cheese & avocado, ceviche, a chickpea burger and squid in it’s own ink.  The chickpea burger was rather plain, but the rest of the food was delicious.  Ivan and I also got a Pisco tasting with 4 Piscos. 


The Piscos were very tasty.


Organic Noodles

Lil Dave and I were up at 9 am on November 22, 2012.  Ivan was up early at 6 am. 

We used the internet and I worked on the blog before heading out at noon.  It was a warm day out.

Ivan and I went shopping for things we still need for the Inca Trail trip starting tomorrow.  We bought panchos and socks.

It was time for lunch, so we went to Greens Organic which is a vegetarian restaurant.  Ivan and I shared a quinoa soup and a mango smoothie.  Lil Dave got a banana and chicken sandwich.  Ivan and I got a campesino sandwich with goat cheese, arugula, tomato confit, artichokes, grilled zucchini, caramelized onions and a quinoa hummus which was simply delicious.


We shopped around the main square buying medicine, toothpaste and clothes.  Cusco is supposed to be a backpackers city, but we couldn’t find any bookstores selling English novels.  The stores did sell English books on Inca Trail, but not everybody wants to read about that.  We only found one little store selling English novels.

Cusco is easy to walk around.  Calle Saphi where our hotel is located is under construction, but part of it is a cute street with balconies filled with shops and restaurants.


At 3 pm, we went back to the hotel.  We packed up our duffel bags with our sleeping bag, mat, clothes and toiletries.  The weight limit is 7 kg (15.4 lbs).  Ivan and I also packed up our daypacks.

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA today.  The only place that I know of that has a turkey dinner is The Real McCoy.  Ivan and I don’t eat turkey though. 

We went to Bambu – Sushi and Noodle Bar for dinner. 


We started off with a lovely fusion salad with mango, cranberry sauce, onions, apples and flat noodles.   Ivan and I also shared thin noodles with salmon and a Nutty Indonesian noodle dish.  The noodle dishes were okay, not that exciting in flavor.



Ivan, Lil Dave and I were up at 6 am on November 21, 2012.  Mel cooked up porridge for breakfast. 


Franco doesn’t like porridge since he says it’s baby food. 

Franco started driving the truck at 7:30 am.  It was another long drive day headed to Cusco, Peru.

Ivan was reading the book Private Games while I was finishing up Pebble in the Sky. 

The truck stopped on the side of the road for lunch.  The cook group made a vegetable salad and a waldorf salad.  The veggie salad was good on the bread with the waldorf salad on the side.  Waldorf salad always makes me think of the tv show Fawlty Towers.  Since our tents were so wet, we laid them out to dry.

We started driving for a few more hours and we were ahead of schedule.  Franco drove us to a nice viewpoint of Cusco. 


The truck was off again to the hotel.  Mel checked us in at Hotel Cahuide at 4 pm.  Ivan and I grabbed our stuff and went to our room.  

At 6 pm, there was a meeting in the reception area.  The group created a t-shirt design with Ty and Bob drawing things for it.  A lady was there with different t-shirt sizes and colors.  Ivan and I tried some on and then ordered our t-shirts.

Our guides for the Inca Trail were there as well.  The group were given maps of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  He told us what we would be doing for the next 4 days and 3 nights.  The money was collected for the porters and if we wanted to hire walking sticks.  Ivan and I decided to each get one walking stick.  I’m pretty nervous about hiking the Inca Trail since I don’t walk the fastest because I have ankles that get sore easily.  I’ve sprained my right ankle twice.  We got our bags which the porters will be carrying.  The limit is 7 kg (15.43 lbs).

Most of the people in our Oasis group walked to The Real McCoy which is a British pub.  It was really busy.  Our group ended up being separated since we had lots of people.  Ivan ordered drinks and food at the bar to try to beat the rush of people ordering. 

It was Pub Quiz night and we decided to join.  Our group named our team To The Max since it’s Harry’s main catchphrase.  His other catchphrase is Rock n’ Roll.  The other Oasis group named their team Nobody likes Pete.  Pete was on our team.  

Ivan and I got red wine with our dinner.  We shared tomato soup, dips with hummus, guacamole and salsa and fish and chips.  The tomato soup and chips were great.  The dips were alright and the fish had too much beer batter.

There were different rounds like Famous Smiles where we had to guess famous people’s smiles like Barack Obama and Julia Roberts by seeing pictures of only their smiles.  The one that stumped most teams was Justin Bieber.  Everybody thought it was a girl! 

There was a Thanksgiving category since the pub host was American.  Our team did great coming in 2nd place – we only lost by 2 1/2 points.  We beat the other Oasis group. 

Ivan, Paul, Sam and I walked back to the hotel. 

Ivan was thinking of watching something on the laptop, but he was too tired.  It was really cold in the room.  We fell asleep around 11 pm.

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