Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Spanish Adventure: Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory

I recently visited Spain on a vacation with my family, having many adventures along the way.  One of my favorite towns in the southern region is Mijas, a lovely mountain pueblo spot where artisans tend to gather.  Pottery, painting, etching, food...and now, CHOCOLATE.

That's right, you can buy love.  In chocolate form.

Not only does Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory sell incredible cocoa based delights, coffee, and handcrafted ice creams, they provide workshops for their adoring fans to learn more about the nature of making chocolate into edible love.

You know me, I cannot resist an opportunity!  I dragged my sister kicking and screaming to the workshop.  Well, not really.  I didn't even really have to twist her arm much.  The quest for chocolate knowledge did not stop me from being touristy, however...
Admittedly an "after" photo.  The bag is full of "souvenirs".
A little history is in order about this Happiness Factory.  I didn't get to personally meet the founders but have learned a bit about them, and in internet conversation, they are so very lovely!

First, is Jason Godwin, who happens to be English and originally from a small town called Glossop.  He's lived in Spain since 1992, performing feats of internet techie software grandeur as well as real estate software.  He and his lovely girlfriend Eli, (a lass from southern Ireland, Clonakilty, County Cork to be exact) decided in August of 2011 to open this chocolate factory in Mijas.  They opened their doors in March 2012  selling their delights, having then opened the downstairs cafe in March 2013.  Business seems "grand" from where I stand!

I was literally overwhelmed with cacao magic while on site.  Some of the best shots of this cozy spot are brought to you by Trip Advisor, courtesy of the owners.
Photos of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory, Mijas
This photo of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory, Mijas
This photo of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory, Mijas
This photo of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory, Mijas
This photo of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Now aside from the never-ending possibilities of flavor profiles, the folks at Mayan Monkey Mijas (yes, please do click that link for more eye candy!)  really know and love their craft. 

We were in the petite and delightful hands of Natalie, (also English from Brighton!)  who didn't just set us loose in the chocolate factory, but brought out a real cacao pod to show us exactly where our love affair begins.  These crazy fuzzy beans turn into the waxy confection that we know and love through a very detailed process.  Natalie was kind enough to help us understand that location of that  pod has as much to do with flavor as a grapes to wine.  Not unlike your favorite coffee beans!  We were able to taste single varietal, no-sugar added chocolate from Venezuela, Mexico, and my very favorite, Papau New Guinea.  I must confess, there is a HUGE difference, and if you ever have the opportunity to do this type of tasting, I suggest that you run, don't walk.  If you aren't convinced of the fun we had, get a giggle at me in my hairnet, with Lil' Natalie beside me.

Natalie (left) and me, delirious, (right.)
After a perfect explanation of the history of chocolate, Natalie indulged us with tastings and demonstrations for how those heavenly tempering machines worked, and how to load up a chocolate bar mold from that molten, perfectly tempered streaming chocolate.  We were able to flavor our bars with whatever organic and lovely ingredients we liked!  Just a few examples:  dried rose petals, pistacios, almonds, chili powder, dried fruits, coconut, and many other wonderful choices. 

I must tell you, bacon was not a choice. 

I tried to bring Natalie over to the dark side, however, she remains skeptical.  Aside, European bacon is not what we here in the USA think of as bacon, so in her defense I can see why she would be unconvinced.  Perhaps in time Jason, Eli and Natalie will sit around one night, having too much sangria, and will get all "crazy American" and give it a test run?  After all, when I explained my smoked cocoa brownies, Natalie's interest was indeed piqued.  There is hope...

I made three bars:  one TRUE white chocolate with rose petal, dried strawberry, and pistacio, secondly a milk chocolate bar with salted almonds, and thirdly a dark chocolate with cranberries and chili powder.  Their chili has some heat, let me say.

Either way, we were given some secrets of setting our bars in the freezer for just a moment, to develop a near shell, before moving them into a top secret refrigerator for a little longer.  The rest of the setting time occurs in a climate controlled "room temperature" and were lovingly wrapped by Natalie for us to pickup later in the day.

Here is another great Tripadvisor image from our "playground":

Photos of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory, Mijas

This photo of Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It's important to mention the SOURCING for Mayan Monkey's ingredients.  They believe in organic, pure ingredients, and obtaining their chocolate from fair trade environments.  This isn't Nestle, folks.  This is a Happiness Factory with a conscience, and they appreciate the beauty of real, unadulterated ingredients going into their product. 

Their blends are ever changing.  Just to name a few:  Masaman Dark Chocolate with creamed peanut, cardamom, and cinnamon.  a Mijas Blend with local Mijas honey, fennel, and citrus.  I cannot give away all their secrets, but I can say that Jason and Eli are after my very heart with their adventurous and creative take on flavoring chocolate.  NO FEAR! 

I can say without reservation that if my life brought me to Mijas in a permenant way, I would spend at least half my time working for Jason and Eli, if they'd have me.  I can think of nothing else I'd like to work very hard at...and if they should ever dare to enter the Amercian market for chocolate, I hope indeed they ring me up. 

If in Spain, PLEASE try to visit lovely Mijas.  It is located in Malaga province in the south, not at all far from the sea.  There are beautiful people in that mountain town, and I am thankful to have stumbled upon Jason and Eli's lovely shop to add to my list. 

Thank you Mayan Monkey Mijas! Let me know if you ship to the USA!!! 


  1. Hi Heather ! What a lovely article, glad you had fun :-) All the best to you x x

  2. Hey Heather, glad you had a lovely time at our chocolate factory! All the best, Jason


Play nice in the sandbox, please!