A Chocolate Lover's Paradise

Written by  Karen Megarbane


When I heard the words “chocolate wine” I was immediately intrigued—I mean who wouldn’t be? Take the Tour de Chocolate—every chocolate lover's paradise—and enjoy a homemade Dominican meal surrounded by beautiful tropical scenery and learn about free trade practices, cocoa production, watch the creation of and sample an array of cocoa treats from wine to chocolate and even marmalade made by local women. For those who want to savor a part of the experience at home, these chocolate delicacies are available for purchase, as are local handicrafts. If you’re not ready to leave the sanctuary of the tropical forest and rural life—no fear—visitors can opt to stay a night in a cabaña and enjoy the food and drinks provided by a local women’s group “Asociación de Amor y Paz”.

The Fairtrade Chocolate Tour is a member of one of our collection members, the Dominican Treasures, a network of authentic and unique tourism destinations throughout the Dominican Republic dedicated to the promotion and practice of sustainable tourism. Today over 8,500 small-scale producers of “CONACADO” export their cocoa to markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The Tour de Chocolate (Fairtrade Chocolate Tour) was created to help visitors familiarize themselves with fair-trade cocoa production and exportation. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about all facets of cocoa farming and exportation as they are welcomed by local farmers at their processing plants and learn first-hand how Fair Trade has improved the quality of local life.

The Tour de Chocolate is dedicated to helping local populations. In fact, 70% of the proceeds generated by the tour are reinvested into the community to cover salaries and development projects. These development projects cover an array of initiatives such as: supporting English courses for community youth, improving road work within the communities, increasing the support of medical teams to benefit community members, funding a site for the association of women in Yabón, and contributing funds for the construction of a children’s playground in the community.  The community is also dedicated to environmental preservation. The Tour de Chocolate has been working on a project that will give both the community and visitors an opportunity to plant trees in areas that have no forests—this is done in coordination with a series of community training programs that will cover issues such as solid waste management, conservation of water sources, and erosion reduction.

So what are you waiting for? Come spend the day immersed in the tropical forest savoring rich chocolate concoctions and know that while sampling these delicatessens you are simultaneously contributing to environmental conservation and socio-economic development!

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