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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Aired May 24, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:47] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST: Peru is a country that has historically driven men mad, mad for gold, for coca, for its magical ancient history. But now there's something else drawing outsiders to its hidden mountain valleys. We love the stuff. We obsess about it, gorge on it and fetishize it. I'm talking about chocolate.
Once a common treat, it's now becoming as nuanced as fine wine making the pursuit of the raw good stuff all the more difficult.
I'm joining that hunt in remotist Peru, but not before I've re- immersed myself in the booming lima food scene.
BOURDAIN: I'm in Peru with this guy, Eric Ripert.
ERIC RIPERT, CHEF, LE BERNARDIN: He was looking at this, he went into the tree.
BOURDAIN: That's funny.
Chef of the world famous restaurant Le Bernardin in New York. To look at where chocolate comes from, particularly our chocolate, the very expensive limited run designer chocolate bar business that Eric got me into last year. So that's why we're in Peru.
But before we get all Indiana Jones, we're spending some time in Lima, as we like the capital city just fine. And we have both of us, from previous trips, friends here.
Lima is the cultural hub and culinary capital of a country that has exploded in the last decade with scores of world class chefs, cooks, and restaurants. It has long been considered to be one of the best food scenes in all of South America.
That was good.
RIPERT: How far away is the house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it. Yes. Five minutes.
BOURDAIN: One of our friends here is chef restaurateur Coque Ossio. He's one of the best, most successful chefs in the country. His family is something of a beloved culinary dynasty in Peru and a small fishing village about an hour south of Lima is where they spend their weekends. Coque's mom, Marisa Guiulfo, is like Peru's Julia Childs and James
Beard rolled into one.
BOURDAIN: Thank you for having us.
A caterer, cookbook author, beloved icon of Peruvian gastronomy.
Yes, I'm going in.
To say one is fortunate to enjoy her hospitality would be an understatement. Warm, generous, welcoming beyond belief.
MARISA GUIULFO, COQUE OSSIO'S MOTHER: Too bad you're going to have to leave so soon.
COQUE OSSIO, CHEF RESTAURATEUR: Normally, we have lunch late, like 5:00.
BOURDAIN: Do you nap before lunch or after?
OSSIO: Both. No. No.
BOURDAIN: Sounds like paradise. Wow. Look at this.
Every weekend, Marisa opens the house to an ever changing mob of friends, visitors, drop-ins and family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is fantastic.
BOURDAIN: They do not skimp on the food. Delicious, delicious things pour out of the kitchen, a torrent, a deluge of traditional Peruvian favorites.
GUIULFO: This is a (INAUDIBLE) salad with crab meat, yellow potato and avocado. We love avocado.
[20:05:00] BOURDAIN: House (INAUDIBLE) is like a tureen of crab meat, eggs, avocado and mashed yellow potatoes.
GUIULFO: This is delicious ceviche from the coast.
Basically raw king fish fillets dressed with aji Amarillo and lime juice.
GUIULFO: That's scallops ceviche.
BOURDAIN: Fresh scallops and lemon juice, garlic and aji (INAUDIBLE). Drum fish, braised in (INAUDIBLE), a corn based beer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They look fantastic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spicy or not?
GUIULFO: This is very spicy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very spicy.
BOURDAIN: And stuffed Riccotti peppers filled with ground beef and raisins, served with cheese.
RIPERT: Are we lucky or what?
BOURDAIN: We are lucky.
And that's just the beginning. There's so much more food there's no way we can show it all much less describe it. It's incredible, overwhelming, invariably fresh and delicious and thrillingly different than what I'm used to.
RIPERT: Yes. It's fantastic.
BOURDAIN: I could frankly get out of the chocolate business right now, put up a pup tent on Marisa's porch and pretty much dig in for the duration. This is living.
RIPERT: Those fish are amazing. It's so fresh.
BOURDAIN: I want to be her next-door neighbor.
RIPERT: It's so good.
BOURDAIN: So has Peruvian cuisine always been this diverse and this delicious and we're just discovering it or has it changed over the last 15 years?
OSSIO: It's changing any way. You know, what you're eating now is the traditional food.
BOURDAIN: There's so many products in Peru that are unfamiliar to people in the states. When you eat this food it's not like well, this is something like -- no, it's not really -- it's not kind of like anything. It's really awesome.
GUIULFO: All year-round.
RIPERT: The Ricotti is very good.
BOURDAIN: What do you do when you're homesick for Peruvian food and you're traveling? There's really --
OSSIO: We take some chilies with us in the luggage.
We're the perfect smugglers.
RIPERT: I believe you do it.
BOURDAIN: I hate to say good-bye to this but it is what it is. Things to do and places to go. Wild and apparently extremely rare cacao trees to visit.
Incredible meal. So happy.
All I can say if that people are anywhere near this nice on the rest of this trip, it's going to be OK.
Lima, city of kings, home to a third of Peru's people. Locals escape by hanging out at the beach. Why not? When you can maybe get a tattoo while you're at it. Is that sanitary?
You've been here before.
RIPERT: Oh, yes, man.
BOURDAIN: I take Eric's suggestion and we head over to see Chef Javier Wong, the uniquely nonconformist seafood specialist, famous for his incredible and uncompromising food and his flaming wok. If Peru has a national dish, it's probably ceviche. The freshest fish only needs the right cut, a little citrus and no heat.
What's the most common thing that people do wrong?
RIPERT: The quality of the ingredients. You don't do ceviche with something that is -- that is not fresh.
RIPERT: The cut is very important. The thickness.
RIPERT: And when you do the ceviche, you don't do it ahead of time.
BOURDAIN: The whole place is served whatever menu he's doing that day, same for everybody. And today, the flounder he got from the market is particularly nice, so that's what we're getting. Generally thicker pieces to stand up to the spices acids. First up an octopus and flounder ceviche.
RIPERT: I don't know what to tell you, man. It's damn good.
BOURDAIN: It is good.
RIPERT: Is this spicy or not?
BOURDAIN: Have you ever been spanked in your life and enjoyed it? Yes, me neither. I don't like pain.
RIPERT: Except if it's painful as the pepper.
BOURDAIN: Brutalized with a pepper. I like.
RIPERT: That's really hot for you.
BOURDAIN: (INAUDIBLE), a flounder dressed with pecans, lime, aji limo and sesame oil, which clearly Eric likes.
RIPERT: This is totally going to the Le Bernardin.
BOURDAIN: So you're not like foraging in the cat skills for your inspiration?
[20:10:03] You basically just rip your ideas off from small businessmen?
JAVIER WONG, CHEZ WONG: It's OK?
RIPERT: You want another little thing?
WONG: Sure. Anthony has a good appetite. It's incredible.
BOURDAIN: Chinese and Japanese immigrants came to Peru in great numbers in the 19th and 20th centuries as contract laborers and farmers, and their influence is felt here, particularly in the food, to a greater degree than anywhere else on the continent. It's that influence and the ingredients of Amazonia and Andes that really distinguishes the food here as something special.
Wow. What is this? Tofu?
WONG: No. Queso fresco, no?
BOURDAIN: This is a very (INAUDIBLE) combination, I mean, is that pineapple? Where did that come from? That's not traditional.
RIPERT: I mean, he looks Asian to me.
RIPERT: So I believe it's probably --
BOURDAIN: Dude, his name is Wong. I mean, unless he's a retired porn star -- this shouldn't be good but it is. Working up a sweat on that one. Might have a couple of more beers after this. This goes sour and then have a nice nap, midday nap. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BOURDAIN: One more day in Lima, the chance to delve a bit further into the cuisine before things get a little more old school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A special one we prefer here. It has a kind of lime that we find in the jungle. It has culantro.
RIPERT: Culantro is like cilantro, with its long leaves. Much more powerful in flavor.
BOURDAIN: It would be wrong to not point out that Peru, along with Brazil, is at the forefront of a movement celebrating the incredible and unique larder of ingredients from the Andes and the Amazon. Flavors you find no place else on earth.
[20:15:04] There seems to be a lot of interest in the last decade into the Amazon because of its amazing spectrum of entirely new to most of us flavors of ingredients.
Pedro Schiaffino is at the cutting edge of exactly that territory. His restaurant Amaz explores the rivers, the ocean, the landscape of Peru, highlighting a range of products that are stunning in their diversity, and to us anyway, their newness.
PEDRO SCHIAFFINO, AMAZ: You've got bread fruit tuna, and the cashew sauce, with plantain vinegar. And so the nut is a fruit in Brazil (INAUDIBLE). We make these scallops with wild almond.
RIPERT: The almond is very, very soft, like the flavor of it. It complements very well.
SCHIAFFINO: And this one is fresh water shrimp dashi, made of maca roots and fresh water shrimps.
BOURDAIN: Whole different flavor spectrum, right? All new. It's almost like you need a new section of your tongue.
RIPERT: It must be so exciting because they are basically an amazing garden with the Amazon.
BOURDAIN: That looks good.
SCHIAFFINO: This is a soup made of ham with peanuts and corn. And it's called (INAUDIBLE).
BOURDAIN: I like the food. I've enjoyed these cocktails, too. Cashew (INAUDIBLE).
RIPERT: We're going to be wasted.
BOURDAIN: We'll be fine. Oh, whoa.
SCHIAFFINO: So this is also tradition. This is called Patarashca. They season the fish, they put it on a leaf and they cook it. The fish is catfish. In the Amazon we have like 200 types of catfish.
BOURDAIN: And the flavor from the leaf, too.
SCHIAFFINO: And here, we have (INAUDIBLE). It's the second biggest fresh water fish in the world. Underneath you have a puree called (INAUDIBLE), that is a palm fruit and a reduction of fermented wild (INAUDIBLE) called yuka.
SCHIAFFINO: Yes, this is -- I would say toxic or --
BOURDAIN: Or poisonous.
SCHIAFFINO: So they let it ferment and it becomes -- you can eat it.
BOURDAIN: These fish are unbelievable. They get up to like 600 pounds and they're swimming in water no deeper than a rice paddy.
BOURDAIN: Giant. They're like dinosaur fish. Everyone has been saying for years that Peru is going to be the next big thing as far as restaurants and --
RIPERT: It is. This really proves it.
SCHIAFFINO: And we have chili pepper made with cashew nuts and these are ants.
RIPERT: Wow. They're huge.
SCHIAFFINO: They're huge ants.
RIPERT: OK. You want to try it?
BOURDAIN: Yes. Totally. You're not loving that, are you?
BOURDAIN: Imagine, you took a lot of acid and then you ate that whole bowl of ants and then you go home and you experience violent diarrhea, and like you're tripping, it's like 4:00 in the morning and you turn around and you look at the toilet and like, all these ant heads floating around in there. It would be cool.
RIPERT: Yes. It would be cooler, Tony, I can't wait.
(LAUGHTER) BOURDAIN: So now that we've confirmed what we already knew, that Peru's food is unequivocally awesome, it seems proper that we take a trip back in time to meet the forebearers of this country's rich cultural legacy.
The Larco Herrera Museum in Lima has a massive collection of pre- Colombian artifacts. And looking at them, you get an idea of what these ancient peoples were like, how they lived.
Wow. I mean, this is like the real stuff.
RIPERT: I think so. The real deal, yes.
BOURDAIN: Gold necklaces. You see where the Spanish just freaked out when they came here, turned into like maniacal greed heads.
But history does not have to be boring. It can be sexy.
I don't know whether you knew this, but I have an aficionado of early erotica of pre-Colombian and post-Colombian heiress, you know, like pottery of people doing it.
RIPERT: Yes. I should have known that.
BOURDAIN: Turns out things could get pretty interesting back in the day. Oh, yes. Those guys can get crazy, get wild and apparently very kinky.
The Erotic Gallery. Wow. There you go. That's a conversation starter.
I take Eric to the pre-Colombian boning section, actually the erotic pottery section.
Slip of the tongue.
BOURDAIN: Which sounds about as much fun as an all nude renaissance fair, but is actually pretty cool. Nothing new under the sun that these pre-Colombian horn dogs didn't think of first.
RIPERT: Yes. A chicken. I'm not sure I understand this one, Tony.
BOURDAIN: I think we frown on that these days.
[20:20:10] BOURDAIN: Wow, they're doing it under a blanket. This must be after the Spanish arrived to teach them shame. Skeletons with boners.
RIPERT: They are zombies.
BOURDAIN: Getting zombie old-fashioned.
RIPERT: Yes, Tony. I really appreciate your knowledge.
BOURDAIN: I wonder whether this was decorative or whether this was really porn.
RIPERT: I think they put ain't closet somewhere or something.
BOURDAIN: I bet this was right on the table. Come on in, have a cup of tea. Sit down.
Here's some animal and animal action. It's pretty awesome.
RIPERT: Yes. I thought this is interesting. Yes. I'm happy we made it here, Tony. That was an enlightened moment.
BOURDAIN: Something about steamy, XXX, pre-Colombian erotica always makes me hungry. Luckily at night, Lima comes alive with the smell and the familiar enticing sound of sizzling meat. It's time for delicious, screamingly hot, garlicky spicy flavor jack street meats. And as anybody who knows me is well aware I love me some street meats.
OSSIO: The street food in Peru is starting to disappear.
BOURDAIN: Really? Why?
OSSIO: Because, you know, the neighbors --
BOURDAIN: Well, the neighbors complain?
BOURDAIN: Our friend Coque brought us to this place. To Dona Pochita, a street stall named for the lady who runs the joint. They specialize in one thing.
Anticuchos is (INAUDIBLE) you want for skewered meat. This stuff, they say, goes back all the way to the Incas and was as immediately popular with the Spanish conquistadors as it is today.
That looks good.
Which is to say, I must have some. Traditionally a mix of beef hearts and other animal hearts.
OSSIO: Chicken hearts and gizzards. And there's tripe.
Marinated in garlic, cumin, and onion, maybe a little vinegar.
Grill that up and pile it high.
These are not small portions. These people are giving me mountains of food.
OK. Rolling up.
It does not get any better.
Voila. Let's do it.
Man, that's awesome.
BOURDAIN: Beef heart. Yes. That is some magic right there.
RIPERT: It's very garlicky. The marinade. It's nice.
OSSIO: Chicken heart.
BOURDAIN: That is seriously tasty. The beef heart or the chicken heart, the texture is so nice. All right. I'm maxed out. Really delicious. Excellent.
[20:27:06] BOURDAIN: The city of Chiclayo lies about 400 miles northwest of Lima. It's Peru's fourth largest city with over half a million people living there. It's our next stop, the staging area for our trip to the mountains to find our cacao.
Chocolate. I mean, we know we like the stuff. But how is it made? Where does it come from?
Columbus was the first European to encounter cacao beans on a Mayan trading canoe off the coast of Honduras. He's said to have grabbed both crew and cargo and brought them back to Spain. A few decades later a Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez came across Aztecs using the sacred beans of a drink. It was considered the drink of the gods.
Like most expensive delicious things from abroad, the largely inbred and frequently syphilitic European royalty did their best to keep up what's was fast becoming a craze for hot chocolate to themselves. But it soon found its way to America. And in 1765, the first chocolate factory opened in New England.
Chiclayo's main market is a massive one-stop shop for all things chocolate as well as just about everything else under the sun.
Oh, you have your animal skulls. That's tempting. Haircut?
RIPERT: I'm good.
BOURDAIN: Those are the raw beans?
RIPERT: That one is toasted.
RIPERT: And then she --
BOURDAIN: Grinds it?
RIPERT: And then she puts it in a mold. Gracias.
RIPERT: Not sweet at all.
RIPERT: Actually, here we are in the area of the market, and I believe, where they are, what they call santarias.
BOURDAIN: Ripert is -- how shall I put it? Well, let's just say he's got more of a spiritual side than me.
RIPERT: This is all the ingredients that you need for the shaman (ph) to bless the rest of the cacao.
So he's got us shopping for what I guess you'd call shamanic supplies.
Which place do we go into? I like the lady with the sunglasses.
RIPERT: Yes, I like it, too. Yes.
Medical medicinal herbs with supposed magical properties. And stuff for this shaman dude to bless us and our cacao crop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And red and white carnations.
RIPERT: This one is amazing. Smells really good and supposedly purified the house.
BOURDAIN: Smells like hippie.
RIPERT: But it's interesting, the shamans are very, very well respected in the Inca and the region. They cure everything, they do ceremonies.
[20:30:02] BOURDAIN: Good?
RIPERT: Yes. I say we're good.
BOURDAIN: Our journey continues by road as we leave Chiclayo and head east towards the Andes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Originally two hours north from here. You have the Indians welcome you with a little --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With blow darts.
But before we get too deep into the mountains, we're stopping off to meet our shaman.
RIPERT: Anthony, he's going to teach us how to do the bath for the plants and for us.
RIPERT: He's cleaning. All the negative vibrations. Close your eyes. He cleaned you and he wished you a lot of success. Especially in the back, in the neck and the back. That's here, and the chest.
BOURDAIN: We wanted a blessing for our cacao harvest. We got this. My aura is now cleaner than Gwyneth Paltrow's colon after a three- month's juice cleanse.
To a successful harvest.
But we're not done. We have to transport this stuff to our trees and finish the job ourselves.
RIPERT: I know you don't believe it but the energy has changed.
RIPERT: I'm serious. I'm not -- I'm not joking.
BOURDAIN: Listen, I'm not disbelieve you. I have an open mind.
Eric and I are heading to the Maranon Canyon, eight hours by car from Chiclayo, well into the Andean Highlands. On the way, we stop for lunch and meet up with this guy.
Chris Curtin, master chocolatier and our business partner in this knuckle-headed adventure.
One of life's great joys is eating in a Peruvian market.
CHRIS CURTIN, CHOCOLATIER: I love markets. It's nice.
BOURDAIN: Basically a hen soup.
That's good. Where in the world does chocolate come from?
CURTIN: Well, 45 percent of course come from Ivory Coast in Africa. But we don't deal in those beans just because of political situations. BOURDAIN: There was this stuff, the special chocolate.
BOURDAIN: Which pretty much what we're here to look at.
RIPERT: Yes. Absolutely.
BOURDAIN: Where it comes from, what's involved.
Eric ate some of Chris's chocolate, heard about these wild cacao trees he was sourcing from and in Peru and promptly got me involved in this designer chocolate bar business.
I'm a rather famous guy that really -- I never really cared about desserts. You on the other hand, you are -- you eat chocolate every day?
RIPERT: Yes. Every day.
BOURDAIN: And so here we are, three men and a chocolate bar. Good thing for the world or exploitive opportunism, yet to be determined. What do I, after all, know about chocolate?
Next, the freaking nut.
RIPERT: It's good like that, right?
BOURDAIN: Like Oliver Twist. Yes. We used to eat like in the orphanage.
BOURDAIN: The Maranon Canyon. We're headed to meet some of the farmers that supply the beans that make our chocolate and get me an education in all things cacao. The roads up into these mountains can be tricky, so we've got to take care of the local vigilante dudes who run a roadblock here outside of town.
It looks like a shakedown but they're a welcome sight. This hill, where cars have to slow down, was where all sorts of highway men and miscreants used to waylay travelers like us. So these guys stepped in to take care of business.
Wow, that was a big shotgun. That will -- that will shoot through an engine block. Actually, I don't really know but I'm assuming.
At this time of year, there's also the rain and mud, which can mean flooded streets and streams that cut right across the roads. And there's this, the river. In the best of circumstances, a fairly adventurous way to get your vehicles across, a long line across a fast moving current, ferry propelled only by the flow of water. But today, the river is too high and the current too fast.
River running a little high.
It's these smaller boats or nothing.
When dealing with complex transportation issues, the best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out.
RIPERT: Yes. Let's go in the boat.
BOURDAIN: To my crew, I say good luck. We're headed for what looks like a bar on the other side.
Punta Cervesa, por favor.
And let me tell you, it's quite a ride.
RIPERT: I'll go the last. Hey, water inside the boat.
[20:40:08] The boat is sinking.
BOURDAIN: You got to go down and then up, just right. We make it to the other side reasonably dry.
The Maranon Canyon is home to a wide range of species including and most interesting to us a strain of cacao previously thought to be almost extinct. A few years ago the valley's cacao trees were genetically tested at a USDA lab and proven to have identical DNA to one of the rarest forms of cacao in the world, this stuff. The real deal. Pure national.
Don Fortunato is our cacao connection, a farmer whose family has been working these mountains for over 40 years.
CURTIN: They're absolutely beautiful when they start out.
BOURDAIN: Really cookie looking pods come right off the trunk of the tree. This sort of look like somebody, you know, glued them to the side of a tree. This is a once a year crop?
CURTIN: It grows continuously but this is a peak seasons.
RIPERT: Try that. Then put one in your mouth. Bite it and you see those -- the nibs inside? Those are the cocoa leaves.
BOURDAIN: So where does chocolate come from?
The bean. OK. Here's where chocolate comes from. The trees produce pods. You split open the pods and take out the beans. The buyer sundries the beans, then roasts them. After roasting, the beans are extracted from their shells and ground up, producing chocolate liqueur. Mix this concentrate with milk, sugar, cocoa butter and you get what we call commercial chocolate.
Now our chocolate bar sells for a nosebleed price that's high by even premium chocolate standards. So where does the money go? And most importantly to me and Eric, are we doing a good thing?
Here's how it breaks down. The raw cacao costs one chunk. Labor, the inner sleeve, this much. Design, box, packaging, this much. Various sundry equipment and miscellaneous, another small chunk. Chris, me and Eric each get a slice out of every bar. That leaves this much, which the retailer takes. Chef bleeding heart hippie here has already convinced me to give whatever meager profits we make off our first bar to a local charity.
So what's unusual about these pods? These beans?
CURTIN: Extremely high quality flavor.
BOURDAIN: Thought not around for a while?
CURTIN: This was, what, almost all chocolate made over 120 years ago and now making a giant comeback. I mean, the chocolate here, this is a once-in-a-life find.
BOURDAIN: Now about 40 percent of the beans from these trees have got white cacao beans mixed in. The rest are purplish in color. But we've heard of an ultra rare group of trees elsewhere further up the mountains that produce pods with 100 percent all white pure beans and that's something me and Eric are very interested in down the road. But for now, Don Fortunato's daughter has prepared us a traditional Peruvian mountain meal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kuinas.
BOURDAIN: Kuinas are rice dumplings with boiled egg, chicken and achuete inside.
RIPERT: This is amazing.
BOURDAIN: And not surprisingly some cuy or guinea pig of which there seems to be many around for the taking. This preparation served with a cacao sauce.
All of this food is delicious.
So chocolate, (INAUDIBLE) chunk and you say a luxury food item.
BOURDAIN: Right? This is an area that's abundant with coffee, chocolate, fruit. How's life for the locals? RIPERT: He says about 20 years ago, 25 years ago, it was easier for
him. He was planting soybeans.
RIPERT: And coffee. And he was making much more money. And then he didn't plant soybeans any longer and then the coffee production went down so therefore he had a financial struggle for a while and now with the cacao trees that they are planting, he has no more stress and is fairly upbeat himself.
BOURDAIN: I'm in the Maranon Canyon in Peru with my partner in chocolate bars, Chef Eric Ripert. Eric and I are intrigued by these ultra rare, all white beans we heard from Don Fortunato. So we set up a meeting with another farmer, Don Edilberto elsewhere in the valley.
Now we thought it would be a nice gesture given all high test culinary talent between us to make him and his family dinner in return for his hospitality.
What are you thinking?
RIPERT: Look there. Squabs.
BOURDAIN: Squabs. Butterfly marinade, grill?
RIPERT: We could do that.
BOURDAIN: With a nice sausages.
RIPERT: Nice sausage.
BOURDAIN: Which would be nice to throw in with stew. Chicken, onion, maybe some peppers, a little bit of spice.
RIPERT: Chicken chorizo and potatoes.
BOURDAIN: So we're kind of moving into these Spanish or what's it called? Sarsuela. But --
RIPERT: Sarsuela. And we can even use shrimp from the guy. Shrimp and chicken works.
BOURDAIN: That sounds like a plan.
RIPERT: You have 24?
BOURDAIN: Yes. Successful. RIPERT: Yes. So far. But wait until we arrive there. It's going to
BOURDAIN: Don't be a downer, man. I'm optimistic.
[20:50:06] We arrive at the village with the fabled white cacao beans who said to be growing and meet with the village's unofficial mayor and our cacao farmer, Don Edilberto, who will lead us to the trees.
RIPERT: OK. We're going to follow him.
BOURDAIN: What was depicted as a short walk up a slight incline turns out to be an epic hump up one hill after another.
RIPERT: When you tire up, you tell us. We stop, OK?
BOURDAIN: When you slump to the ground and urinate all over myself, that will probably be a tip that I probably want to stop. Another reason I hate the Swiss mountains.
RIPERT: I love mountains.
BOURDAIN: Eric, who grew up in the Pyrenees, is up the slopes like a gazelle. Me, I feel every year of my misspent life with every step.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is cacao.
BOURDAIN: Are we there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
RIPERT: No, no, no, we're not there. He's a baby. He's rafting because he has only 22 trees.
BOURDAIN: I wish I could hear you over the sound of my exploding capillaries.
BOURDAIN: By the time we get near the fabled trees, I'm toast. Gasping for air, waiting to puke from the altitude and the exertion.
So, tell us again, what's unique about these trees?
CURTIN: Just because they are all white beans, all white. Which is a rarity.
BOURDAIN: So these are the only known all-white 100 pure.
CURTIN: That's right.
BOURDAIN: OK. And why is that good?
CURTIN: It's a new variety and gives new flavor profiles to it. BOURDAIN: A good flavor profile?
BOURDAIN: I assume because I've humped up a here -- excuse me. Oh, nice catch.
RIPERT: Watch your fingers, man. Yes. That's it.
CURTIN: There we go. And I'm going to repeat myself.
RIPERT: All white.
BOURDAIN: Remember the shaman? Well, we still have stuff to do with that package you gave us. We do, presumably, want a good cop. Better get right with the spirit world.
Shaman juice thrown around, the purified soil and there you go, chocolate magnates.
Well, good luck, dude, to a good harvest.
RIPERT: Done deal.
BOURDAIN: The trip downhill unsurprisingly is a lot easier on me. Time for me and Chef Ripert to get cooking. Back to basics, wood fire, ingredients from the morning market. In this old school recycling system. Here, little fella.
RIPERT: I'm ready for the chicken.
RIPERT: And red wine.
BOURDAIN: Notice how I neatly maneuvered you into the chef job?
RIPERT: So now we have to make the mashed potato and we're good.
BOURDAIN: Eric's mashed potato secret, around 50 percent butter. The glory that is France. I think they call it gout.
OK. Let's do it.
CURTIN: You guys can cook.
BOURDAIN: Some say.
RIPERT: He's the only guy who has the white cacao. He asked all the farmers of the village.
RIPERT: To do exactly what he has done, so the farmers are starting to copy him.
RIPERT: And he's happy because it's going to bring wealth, in the village, in the valley and the community.
BOURDAIN: Afterwards Don Edilberto makes a traditional unsweetened hot chocolate preparation, ground cacao anybodies, no sweetener, no milk, no sweeteners, no nothing, just like the ancient kings liked it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go.
BOURDAIN: Gracias. The real deal.
RIPERT: It's only water, and this is what they -- they will use it.
BOURDAIN: Before chocolate hit Europe. This is what the Aztec kings would drink.
RIPERT: They would be jealous right now.
BOURDAIN: You'll get yours eventually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gracias. Mucho gracias. Salud.
BOURDAIN: That's good salud.
BOURDAIN: Gentlemen, to education.
BOURDAIN: So did we do the right thing? Is it all right for two New Yorkers to make money, however much, or however little, off the work of struggling farmers in a faraway lane? Fortunato, Edilberto, Chris, everybody down the line, all the way to the families who pick the pods off the trees, seem pretty happy to be doing what they are doing, but do I want to be in the chocolate business?
That's something I'm going to have to figure out. But for now one last thing needs to be done to fulfill our shamanic obligations.
RIPERT: Guys, you have to get out. The guy is coming with his bike, and he doesn't care.
BOURDAIN: A bridge, a bundle of eucalyptus leaves. A badly working lighter got to get right.
RIPERT: Smells like (INAUDIBLE). Got a lighter?
BOURDAIN: We need to burn this stuff and pass it around our bodies three time.
RIPERT: Got something or ont?
BOURDAIN: Oh, too moist. Oh, you got it, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Smoking.
BOURDAIN: That's smoking. I'm going to get it. Hold on. Now I've got it.
Let's do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's coming. I got it. We did it.
RIPERT: OK. Done. Hey. We have a problem with chocolate, I tell you that.
BOURDAIN: Get him in the coffee business.