Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - On January 11, 2019, Vallarta Botanical Garden will host a Festival celebrating two important plant species native to the rain forests of Mexico - Chocolate and Vanilla - and everyone is invited!
The cacao bean, the basis of cocoa and chocolate, is one of Mexico's many culinary gifts to the world. Cacao beans come from the cacao tree known by its scientific name as Theobroma Cacao which literally means "food of the gods."
Among Mexico's indigenous peoples, cacao beans were ground by hand and then mixed with water, ground corn and chile pepper, often flavored with vanilla or some other tropical plant. This drink was known as chocolate. Aztec emperor Moctezuma drank chocolate daily.
The household of Nezahualcóyotl, the chieftain of neighboring Texcoco, consumed more than 20 kg (44 lbs) of cacao a day. Never would he have imagined that his elixir's prized ingredient would become an everyday luxury as it is today. In modern Mexico, chocolate is still primarily something to drink, often made with cinnamon or vanilla.
Vanilla Plants at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens
When Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover, the two were captured and beheaded. Where the blood of the princess' lover touched the ground a tree grew and next to it, where the princess' blood touched the ground the vine of the vanilla orchid grew attaching to the tree forever.
Since cacao trees and vanilla plants are abundant at the Vallarta Botanical Garden, what better place to celebrate some of Mexico's most traditional ancestral delights? Make plans now to come out to the Festival de Chocolate y Vainilla, where you can learn more about these botanical treasures while enjoying:
• Vanilla Plantation tours
• Chocolate tours
• Chocolate tastings
• Folkloric dance performances
• Food & drink specials
• and much more!
Admission is $200 pesos per person, which includes Garden entry fees.
Visit the internationally famous Vallarta Botanical Garden located just 30 minutes south of Old Town at Km. 24 on Highway 200 and easily accessible by public transportation and taxi. This 64 acre wildlife preserve and botanical garden have something fun for everyone. Over 200 species of birds have been observed on the Garden's grounds. Don't forget to bring your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the jungle river. See plantings of vanilla, chocolate, and hundreds of other botanical delights! Authentic Mexican Cuisine is served in the Hacienda de Oro Restaurant from 10 am to 5 pm. The Garden is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm (closed Mondays from April 1 to December 1). Garden admission is just $200 pesos. For more information, call (322) 223-6182 or visit vbgardens.org.
Click HERE to learn more about Vallarta Botanical Gardens.