While Lisa is still on the mend, Ron & Tina drove us down to Bellingham. We had wanted to do a "Chocolate Tasting" and Chocolate Necessities Factory near our campground but it was closed on Sunday. We learned their retail store was in Bellingham so made a bee line for it. To our delight, the Factory woman that does the chocolate tasting was in the retail store. She explained how chocolate is grown and made.
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the dried and fermented seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), a small, 4–8 m tall (15–26 ft tall) evergreen tree is native to deep tropical regions. Cocoa beans grow in pods on trees of the Theobroma cacao species. Cocoa beans grow into beautiful trees; these trees grow most successfully in a narrow band called the Cocoa Belt or the Chocolate Belt; this band extends up to 20 degrees of latitude north and south of the equator.
She lead us through the flavors from buttery white chocolate (unlike the junk you buy in the market) made from cocoa butter & sugar and melts in your mouth. Then milk chocolate, then increasing percentages of cocoa (the best to us was 60% cocoa) up to (I think) 75% cocoa which was too stringent for me.
While we were still tasting, Larry met the artist Michael Heath who had several of his beautiful painting hanging in the chocolate shop.
Bellingham is in Whatcom County. I learned that "Whatcom" is based on a local Indian word meaning "noisy water," referring to Whatcom falls at the mouth of the creek. The known human habitation for at least twelve millenia are at least three aboriginal tribes identified in the area: Lummi (San Juan Islands), Nooksack (the northern portion, near Blaine), and Semiahmoo (between Lynden and Maple Falls)
After the Chocolate shop, we drove to a lovely grassy park at the water's edge. Bellingham is a big fishing port and there was a Memorial for the Lost Fishermen. Their names were listed on the memorial by the years. There were Modern buildings and old late 1800's buildings.