We went to Mijas on a day trip during our Andalucian holiday and spotted on the first floor level of the Plaza de Constitution what is claimed to be the world’s smallest chocolate factory. Initially the gorgeous smell that wafted over the plaza caught our attention but once on the upper level we decided as chocolate lovers we needed a closer inspection. The shop is pretty, not in the twee chocolate box way, but the bright orange, blue and green is vibrant and inviting.
The shop was deserted but as the door was open the four of us wandered in to see what was on offer. Once inside we looked at the dresser stocked with a large array of chocolate. Cinnamon, chilli, nut, lemon, orange, milk and dark, creamy, crunchy or foamy it was all there. For those with a sweet tooth it was like being transported to Paradise.
Pretty boxes in varying shades and shapes lined the counter and shelves so your purchase for someone special could be packaged to suit the receiver’s personality or match the occasion. We liked the idea that you are actively encouraged to sample whatever catches your eye or palate before you buy.
A man, who upon questioning, we learnt was the owner, was working inside the shop, adding lights to one of the display cabinets and he told us to mind his soldering iron. Oh that’s not a Spanish accent said I …. I’m not easily fooled! Especially as he was from Ashton under Lyne. Although the business has only been opened 8 weeks he had decided to close that day in order to catch up on small jobs and add some finishing touches.
Of course being the nosy sort it didn´t stop us asking to sample the produce and Jason was happy to oblige. We all loved the different tastes and closing our eyes and letting our tongues wander we each experienced heaven to varying degrees. The chocolate was beyond good and although the shop was officially closed with a bit of arm twisting (it didn´t take too much effort) we talked Jason into selling us various packets of culinary seduction. While we were ooing and ahing others came into the shop to see what all the laughing and chattering was about.
Eli, Jason’s Irish OH came in to start making more chocolate but by now a small group of us had gathered and she showed us where and how she makes the chocolate at the back of the shop. She learnt her trade in Granada and is still experimenting with various flavours. The kitchen has huge windows so anyone in the shop can see her working away. She uses the finest ingredients that are locally sourced and what was meant to be a hobby, or relaxing business opportunity after 20 odd years in IT has turned into a 7 day a week job because their venture is so popular. In fact so popular that Jason is opening a second shop in Malaga.
Before leaving Spain for the UK we made a second visit to the shop. Chocolate can keep at 18 degrees for up to two years, fat chance with me around, but now that we have tried them I made Jason promise to see if it is possible to ship chocolates to me in Tenerife. I know that they will be worth every penny for every mile they will have to travel to reach us. Until that day comes we stocked up on Cardamom and White Chocolate that tasted like kulfi, we also bought dark chocolate with cranberries and chocolate covered prunes, kiwi and orange. Sadly he had sold that morning his last packet of cinnamon but if I never taste it again, I can die knowing I have experienced the most exquisite delicacy every known to mankind!!!
I would dare anyone with a sweet tooth to visit the chocolate factory and walk away empty handed, I would suggest it is an impossibility.
The shop is open from 10.00 am seven days a week the Mayan Monkey has a website www.mayanmonkey.es and I wish this enterprising couple the very best of luck in their venture, although I really don’t think they need it as they have hit upon something that in Spain is in high demand and very short supply, truly delicious chocolate. In fact I would go as far as to say the freshest most delicious handmade chocolates on the Costa del Sol.