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Kaohsiung Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 4: Nantou> DIY Chocolate Making > DIY Paper Factory > Flower Expo @ Tai Chung

Day 4: DIY Chocolate Making > DIY Paper Factory > Flower Expo @ Tai Chung

We're being hosted today by a friend and her Taiwanese husband (who is also a guide by the way). I always love to visit places unknown to tourists and go for a not-your-usual-kind of an itinerary. If you're one who enjoys an itinerary off the beaten track, please do engage his services during your stay in Taiwan.
Thanks to him, we discover such lovely DIY places located just across from each other. Love the authentic experience.

- Simple breakfast at Season House 山季节花园, exploring the garden and enjoy fresh air around thereafter
- DIY Chocolate Place
- DIY Paper Making Factory
- Flower Expo at Taichung
- Sleep at Season Garden House 山季节花园

After breakie at Season Garden House, we left for the DIY chocolate and paper making factory which is some 20-30 minutes car ride from Season Garden House.
You'll definitely need to hire a car if you're touring Nantou and its vicinity.

If you need a driver's contact, try 
Dong Lin ( Driver + guide)
+886 921 866 490

You can leave him a whatsapp message and he will get back to you. He's a really nice guy and professional as well. He will even plan the itinerary and suggest a lot of places which the local visit instead of the typical highly raved and overrated touristy places.

DIY Chocolate Making Workshop

 Thanks to the recommendation by local guide/driver, Dong Lin, we get our very first hands-on experience with cocoa making, right from the fruit. This is how the workshop looks like. If it's not for Dong Lin's recommendation, you would never have known what's inside. Looks more like a gardener's residence than anything else or perhaps, a florist.

 Too pretty not to take any shots

 The shop front, they do pottery as well so you can see many of these items on sale.

 Some hand-made chocolates for sale. As it's a weekday morning, there's only 1 staff on duty. Unfortunately, since it is a weekday, they do not have classes for making chocolates hence we can only settle for the Cocoa making workshop.



 Many handicrafts on display, mostly not for sale i think.

 There is really a lot of talent in the artistic/creative line in Taiwan. It's great to see flourishing works of local artists. I'm sure you'd often come across handmade creative crafts by the locals as you shop through the bustling night markets in Taiwan. It'd be difficult to find a place like this in Singapore due to our high rental costs. Part of the many reasons why we enjoy Taiwan so much.


 The garden at the back of the workshop

It's time for some hands-on!


 Here you have a Cocoa fruit and fresh seeds extracted from the Cocoa fruit.

The facilitator did an introduction about how chocolate is made and how they extracted the seed from the fruit and showed us how to extract the pulp from the seed.

 Ok someone's losing focus.


 Shows you the Cocoa beans to the fruit and its leaves.

Finally, we can get into action. Grinding of the pulp.....it requires quite a bit of grinding to get the pulp in powder form.

Ok, here's the thing, I can't believe I didn't take any shots of the finished product! Basically once the pulp is ground, you add hot milk to it and it becomes hot chocolate! The hot chocolate was so delicious, Sticky Bean finished two cups of it and I only get to have a sip.

The husk of the seed can be soaked in hot water as a tea which is said to aid in maintaining one's beauty.

DIY Paper Making Factory
They do have a number of sessions for the factory tour and paper making but no worries, they have one session almost every 1-2 hourly.

As with most of the attractions in Taiwan, there's always a 'stamping' station so do get a plain notebook for your child and start collecting stamps as a souvenir and journal to your Taiwan trip.


This Paper Making Factory host school groups as well.

 The venue for hands-on workshop.

 Cute cutouts for your social media shots.

 So we start the factory tour proper

 The guide was showing us the fibre made from the bark of the tree after soaking it for a certain amount of time.

 Different types and quality of paper

 A delicate process of pressing the fibres into a huge sheet of paper

 Drying the sheets of paper on a hot iron table

 The guide doing a demo and showing us how we can create and print our own paper fan using the traditional print method.

 Sticky Bean brush beating her artwork, think this is to aid in absorption of the water

 And powdering the fan with ink in powdered form.


Almost done, need Popo's help to bind the side of her paper fan. And yes, again, I didn't take a photo of the finished product.
We're famished by the time we're done with all these DIY activities so Dong Lin brought us for lunch at a restaurant decorated just like a log cabin.

This one one of the meat stew, can't remember if it's a beef stew but it was delicious. Love the way they present the vegetables as well.

Next up was a trip to the Flower Expo @ Taichung. Honestly, we have no idea that the flower expo is all the way in Taichung which took us at least a 1.5-hour car ride. Had we known that it was so far away, we would have skipped it and choose to go to the Monster Village which is located within Nantou itself.
But I guess for the locals like Dong Lin, a 1-2 hour drive anywhere is considered nearby for them.

It's our first time visiting a Flower Expo.





 It's so pretty, you can take plenty of instaworthy shots here.


 Not a bad attempt eh?

 A bride sculpture made with flowers.



 Sticky Bean can never resist a swing



 Yes, it's actually lettuce on display. Never knew lettuce can look so pretty eh.


The flower expo was really really huge, we crossed the bridge to get over to the other side



And shortly after, decided to call it a night. The walking was too much to bear after a long day and after a couple of exhibits, everything else seems to look similar.

 There's this famous Jiang Mu Ya 姜木鸭 near the Flower Expo and it was our first time trying this delicacy. We heard that it is a really popular dish, especially in winter as it keeps the body warm. It's a pot of flavourful soup cooked with duck and lots of ginger. This is really delicious, I've been craving for it ever since we returned.
Strangely, I've only noticed this delicacy during our Kaohsiung Trip and never take notice of it from our previous Taiwan trip.

 So if you ever come across this delicacy, do go ahead and give it a try. It's uniquely Taiwan. As of now, I've yet to find it in Singapore.


Tip #9: Do not pack your itinerary so tightly, give yourself some time to enjoy the rustic lifestyle at Season Garden House 山季节花园. Being higher up in the altitude, the air here is so fresh and cooling, I spent most of my time outdoors here. Even sitting around the garden, watching Sticky Bean play in the sand cheers me up and I felt like this is one exactly the kind of life I can lead.

Tip #10: Nantou area is definitely not as accessible to explore without a guide so do consider engaging one, even if it's just for 1-2 days when you are in Nantou. There's just so much to explore.

Quick Review Kaohsiung Child-Friendly Itinerary Day 4: If I were to plan again, I would have done a 3-night stay here in Nantou. Totally in love with the fresh air and cooling weather here. There's so much to explore but so little time. We will also give the Flower Expo a miss and choose to go to the Monster Village located within Nantou instead. 

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