Chocal: Womens Chocolate Coop in the DR

. Posted by Sherrie Thai by .

Chocal photo by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

It was a great pleasure to be able to volunteer and learn about one of my favorite things–Chocolate!!! While in the Dominican Republic, I hooked up with Chocal, a local womens cooperative of about 30 individuals, who create, manufacture and package their own chocolates straight from the cocao plant. The D.R has one of the best cocao beans in the world, but they mostly ship out the beans to Europe for manufacturing, leaving the local economy much to be desired.

With Chocal, there is economic empowerment and growth potential. They needed a bit of help with the production, so I volunteered for a few hours (through Fathom). It was fascinating to learn of their process, sorting the good beans from the bad, and wading through the camouflage of nibs vs. shells. The volunteers were very sweet, and I learned of their lives while sorting through the edible materials. With volunteering, the people that you meet are just as important as the service. I wish I could go back–the experience, though short, was very rewarding, as was the intoxicating aroma of roasted chocolate nibs. Yummy times! 🙂