Can Tho is one of the most favorite tourist spots to many domestic and foreign visitors because of its stunning landscape and friendly people? Besides Cai Rang, floating market, Truc Lam Pagoda, My Khanh Tourist Village, Can Tho also has a cocoa farm which is established for a long time. Muoi Cuong Cocoa farm has been always a place of interest for visitors. Coming there, tourists not only enjoy the peaceful and fresh atmosphere but also learn how people produce chocolate from cocoas. Let’s explore Muoi Cuong Cocoa farm with Mekong Smile!
Muoi Cuong cocoa farm has an area of 1.2 ha and is covered by the shadow of cocoa trees. There are over 2,000 cocoa trees and 15 kinds of cocoas here, mostly Trinitario cocoas. Especially, some are from 30 to 50 years of age. Mr. Muoi Cuong applies a traditional method to grow cocoa trees and he rarely uses pesticides or chemicals to maintain the cocoas. The ripe cocoas have a red or yellow color and the unripe ones have a green color. The cocoa farm is a combination of ecotourism, homestay, and farming.
The homestay includes 4 rooms that are isolated from the bustling of the city. Nobody can’t deny the attraction of this place since it attracts around 1,000 visitors, mainly foreigners each year. Apart from cocoas, the farm also grows mangos, mangosteens, and other tropical fruits. Therefore, these trees make the farm evergreen and an ideal place to relax.
The cocoa farm is located in My Ai Ward, My Khanh Commune, Phong Dien District, Can Tho city. It is just about 10km from the center of Cantho city. Visitors can also ask local people to know the direction to get to the cocoa farm. It lies on the same road as Ong De Tourist village and Chin Hong Orchards. The farm opens at 7 am and closes at 12 am everyday.
The cost of the ticket to visit Muoi Cuong cocoa farm is about 50,000 VND. The ticket includes visiting the cocoa farm, drinking cocoa, enjoying chocolate and seeing how cocoa is made.
History of Muoi Cuong Cocoa Farm
The owner of the cocoa farm is Mr. Lam The Cuong, a friendly and hospital farmer. He can speak English and French fluently so he can introduce visitors the process of growing cocoa trees and producing chocolate as well as the cultural traits of Phong Dien. Especially, he used to attend a training workshop about homestay service hosting by the EU project. Therefore, the EU project highly appreciates his farm.
According to Mr. Muoi Cuong, he started growing the cocoa farm in the 1960s. At that time, cocoa had just appeared in Vietnam. Some people brought it to their place and grew but the trees couldn’t develop well due to the inappropriate climate and soil. Thus, they decided to cut the trees down. However, Mr. Cuong insisted on growing the cocoa trees. He thought growing cocoas is not hard as many people suppose and it also has high economic values.
Although he goes through the ups and downs with cocoa trees, his family determines to keep growing cocoas. Besides, he reads a lot of books and research about how to grow and produce cocoas, particularly the book from France. He also combines with traditional planting methods of Vietnam to cultivate the cocoas to get the best production. Then, he encourages and instructs other local people on how to grow cocoas because he sees the potentials that cocoas have.
After a hard time with the experiment, his cocoa farm finally achieved certain results. The trees produce a stable number of cocoas with high quality. Especially, he prefers using traditional ways to grow cocoa and takes care of them to using chemicals. The cocoa seasons are in November and December every year. There is also an extra season in May and June.
How to make chocolate from Cocoa
Coming to Muoi Cuong cocoa farm, visitors cannot miss the chance to see how chocolate is traditionally made from cocoa pods. After harvesting cocoa pods, they will open them and take out the cocoa beans. Then, the cocoa beans are fermented within 6 – 7 days so that the peels pull out.
The cocoa beans are dried and roasted carefully in high temperatures until people can separate the cocoa pulps from the beans by hand. This step requires persistence and carefulness if we are careless, we can leave scratches or make the beans break. The white jelly pulps are edible because people use them to make cocoa juice. It tastes sweet and sour at the same time.
The next step is to grind and blend the cocoa beans into cocoa powder. The cocoa nibs are added in small portions into the grinder and grind into a paste. Cocoa butter will extract from the cocoa nibs and the powder gets wet and the paste gradually turns into liquid.
Finally, let the liquid cool before pouring it into a mold. Then, put it into the fridge within 30-60 minutes, you can enjoy a delicious, unique type of chocolate. Especially, he makes use of every part of the cocoa pods. The parts that aren’t edible can be used to make organic compost for plants.
Top things to do in Muoi Cuong Cocoa farm
When visiting the cocoa farm, tourists can experience many interesting activities here. First, they have opportunities to buy ripe cocoa fruits in the harvesting season. Besides, they can see and learn about the process of making cocoa such as fermenting, roasting, and grinding the cocoa. They can also take part in planting cocoa trees as a real farmer. It is a great change for visitors to taste all the products made from cocoas in Muoi Cuong Cocoa farm.
Visitors can also enjoy many popular products made from Cocoa such as chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa juice and others. After Mr. Muoi Cuong harvests the cocoa pods, he starts separating the seeds, fermenting, drying, and roasting until they are well done. He uses a traditional grinder to grind all of them and make many products.
In addition, visitors can buy many cocoa products such as cocoa powder, roasted cocoa beans, cocoa candies, cocoa butter, and cocoa wine. Cocoa butter contains vitamin E and collagen which can reduce wrinkles on our skin and boost the immune system.
More importantly, it would be great to enjoy cocoa wine which is an appetizer wine. When visitors taste chocolate made from cocoas, they will be impressed by the taste. They are original of bitter taste but sweet at the same time. This is a natural flavor of chocolate not from sugar or any additives.