Chocolate and More
I’m a picky eater. Following a strict diet, I don’t go for your typical American breakfasts. To make it more difficult, my partner’s food preferences are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. As a result, it’s not that easy for us to both enjoy a meal together.
Throughout our travels in Mexico and Central America, hands down the best brunch date (and only one) was in Granada, Nicaragua. The common thread that we found to nourish our tastebuds, bellies, and souls: chocolate.
Reasons to Head to Mansión de Chocolate
While I typically don’t head for hotels for meals, the Mansión de Chocolate has an inviting vibe.
First, take the actual setting. The Mansión was once owned by a President of Nicaragua. The history of the building, in and of itself, is interesting.
Second, the Mansión houses the Choco-Museo where you can get free lessons on the history of chocolate. For those with an extra hour to spare, treat yourself to a chocolate-making workshop. I made the mine. Best. Chocolate. Ever.
Finally, for $10 you can lounge around a beautiful courtyard as you savor your chocolate brunch followed by an afternoon swimming and sunning at a 60-foot pool set amid lush Central American plant life.
One of the hotel staff says, “We are the only ones in Granada with a breakfast buffet at a moderate price.” Everything is made fresh, daily. The selection of fruits and vegetables is delivered early in the morning. The staff arrives at 5 a.m. to begin prep on the homemade granola with cacao nibs and cashews, coffee, chocolate teas.
Apparently, the secret to the best brunch in town is out of the bag.
A long-haired under-30 guy from Dallas and his Londoner girlfriend were lazying around the courtyard. They leisurely sipped their coffees and smoothies and dipped their forks into an unending pile of plates.
A South African native with his American partner, after two months in Central America, were craving North American brunch-type offerings. They were just visiting Granada for four days but headed to the Mansión de Chocolate for a gastronomic splurge. And pool time.
“I haven’t had a buffet for a long time, so I’m homesick,” he said. “The French Toast was good and the chocolate tea is very good.”
I drink the subtly-sweetened chocolate tea, watered down to reduce the sugar level. However, I can’t imagine anyone else would deem it too sweet. My main dish was my go-to dish in Nicaragua. Rice and beans. That’s it, and I was a happy camper.
My partner ate all the sugar I avoided. Fresh tropical fruit juice. Crepes filled with bananas and pineapple and drizzled with a homemade chocolate sauce. Then, for dessert, pancakes topped with fruit and more chocolate.
After our fill, we went to the pool garden. There were plenty of people in the swimming pool that were brunch-goers. Among them, a Swedish family working temporarily in Nicaragua. A woman from British Colombia and a gal from San Diego were also lazying in the sun.
The all-you-can-eat brunch bar (without access to the pool) is only six dollars. Smoothies and specialty coffees are not included. Before you leave, you can buy bags of chocolate tea, granola, cacao nibs, and a great selection of chocolate items. My partner couldn’t buy enough of the chocolate brownies, which were being sampled while we were there. I preferred the chocolate-covered cashews, and a chocolate-sesame seed butter spread, and the 100 percent cacao bars.
An overnight stay at the Mansión de Chocolate can further nourish you. You can choose from a plethora of spa treatments, with or without chocolate. Hotel guests receive 50 percent off at the spa and free brunch.