As a lover of all things chocolate, today’s visit to the Valor Chocolate Factory in Villajoyosa, Spain was the highlight of a trip that ends tomorrow. To learn so much about this God-given gift of pure sweetness and joy made my day. As we walked through the factory where bonbons in the thousands and other chocolate products are made each day, I marveled at the combination of technology and humans producing a product that brings happiness to people across the globe.
It took all of my restraint not to jump down on the factory floor, scoop dozens of bonbons into my hands, and just eat to my heart’s delight, which may be why the tour keeps the visitors and the factory floor separated by glass walls. The owners use very good sense in ensuring that they do not entice us so much that we would be unable to help ourselves to what appeared to be a blizzard of chocolate just waiting to be eaten.
Formerly, meaning before technology allowed for the export of tons of gooey goodness to nearly every continent, only the people of this culture, or I should say the rich people, enjoyed the unique taste and aroma of this dark brown wonder. But, now, peoples in many different cultures and social classes can taste this wonderful concoction, and just seeing how it is made from cocoa pods to the finished product left me salivating for the end of the tour where we tasted all manner of chocolates.
I had to modify my behavior, for, as I have written about before, my body does not know how to signal that I am fully satisfied when it comes to chocolate. I knew that I had to make myself not grab whole hands full of the products placed for our sampling. My prophetic sense knew that I would end up embarrassing my husband and causing maybe the end of such tours.
They gave us hot chocolate that was so thick and rich, nothing like the stuff we call hot chocolate at home. It was pure chocolate, not much water used at all, as far as we could see. Douglas and I decided to buy a bag as well as some other milk chocolate bars. I don’t really like dark chocolate, as it is not sweet enough for my sweet tooth, but that is the kind Douglas bought. So, we are going to the Valor store near our apartment and buy the milk chocolate version of hot chocolate to take home for me.
I am determined not to eat any more chocolate today, mainly because I would be eating it all day. Self-control is one of the fruit of the spirit that I lack when it comes to sweetness, and I am determined to not spend my last night in Spain in a chocolate coma, so maybe I will send Douglas to the Valor store alone.
This is why we travel, to learn of the world around us, to see how other people live, and to appreciate the similarities among us, as well as to discover that the differences are fewer than our sameness. Indeed, see the picture below that was one of the few pictures in the chocolate museum, a black woman, which may indicate that the chocolate used here is from Africa and Ecuador. Whatever she represents, I was just glad to see her.
Here, as in Portugal, I am an anomaly, stared at on the beach and on the streets, but mostly by people who may not have had any experiences with black people, although there are some African males selling things on the beach. It may be my Afro or that Douglas and I are an interracial couple. I don’t really know, but it makes me so uncomfortable to be looked at as though I am not a human being. Yet, it will not stop me traveling, for my soul needs the marvel and wonder of other cultures.
We need more intercultural experiences, so that we can recognize each other’s humanity. Yet, at the chocolate factory, everyone smiled at each other and we all were so excited to taste the gooey sweetness of lots of chocolate. We were one in our love of chocolate, as one older man, with a wonderful British accent, asked me if I was having a gret time, and I told him that it was just very wonderful! That may have been the best part of the tour for me, along with a dress made out of chocolate wrappers.