See more photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskN7oJJ6
The Bali Silent Retreat is quite remote and there are no taxis or Ubers nearby. Thankfully, the retreat helped coordinate a ride for me half way with another guest who was a part time yoga instructor and retired from a career in finance. He now works in travel journalism and was on his way to evaluate the Ritz Carlton in Ubud. He was one lucky guy! I then took a taxi to the Big Tree Chocolate Factory where I met Franki and Ranah.
The tour started promptly at 2:00pm and costed 60,000 IDR which included chocolate tasting. I was surprised at how intensity of the security confident leaving my large backpack with them. I had to check in at the entrance and was provided a visitor pass. Afterwards, I was escorted to the waiting room with the rest of the tour group. Even when I stepped outside of the room to find a toilet, I was instantly greeted by security who gave me directions.
The tour was magnificent and went above and beyond my expectations. First, we were led upstairs in the beautifully constructed bamboo building to the visitor area. We got to try coco beans from the actual pod! The outside tasted like mangostein and once you crunched into the bean it tasted like a vegetable… similar to a raw string bean. We got the chance to try the chocolate at every stage and even the completed form! An overview of the manufacturing process was also provided. From the hand peeling of the coco beans from their shells, to the Swiss machine of the 1930s used to help form the chocolate. I loved the tour and would definitely go back! Franki and my dream of trying raw chocolate came true here. In the end, I ended up purchasing one 61% Dark Chocolate bar. It’s called Wonder Chocolate – Cold Processed & Coconut Palm Nectar Sweetened and tastes incredible!