Two months ago I returned from a trip to Belize. Cynthia and I spent a week staying at Cotton Tree Lodge and working with Maya Mountain Cacao in order to learn more about their approach to buying, fermenting, drying, and shipping cacao. While there are some consistent aspects to these processes, the details make all the difference between mediocre and incredible cacao. Genetics and terroir are important factors but the final processing is truly an art form.
We enjoyed our time there immensely and decided the best way for others to learn more about the agricultural side of cacao growth, harvesting, and processing is to spend some time on the farm as well. We currently teach Chocolate 101 (Introduction to Chocolate Industry Lecture & Taste Lab) and Chocolate 201 (Small Batch Chocolate Making Lab), so we’ve now added Chocolate 301 (Cacao Sourcing Field Trip). On November 2-9, 2013 I’ll be leading a trip back to Southern Belize with a combination of chocolate makers, chocolate lovers and hopefully an agriculture enthusiast or two. The goal of this trip is to give you a thorough understanding of how cacao is grown (specifically in Belize), an overview with some practical experience in fermentation and drying, and an appreciation for the history of cacao in Belize. Oh, and to enjoy a really beautiful part of the world!
The current agenda (which is subject to change) will involve:
– Visiting cacao farms, trying various products and learning about how cacao is grown in Belize
– Visiting Maya Mountain Cacao to learn more about their approach to group fermentation and drying
– Visiting at least 2 chocolate makers, 1 using classic mayan chocolate making techniques and at least 1 using more modern techniques
– Talks on cacao fermentation and sourcing
– Eating a lot of cacao and cacao related products!
In addition to the scheduled activities there will be plenty of opportunities to explore Belize (for instance fishing, swimming, horseback riding or cliff-jumping) or just sit around in a hammock and listen to the jungle.
I’m really excited to bring a group down to share the joy of Belize and cacao with others who’ll enjoy it as much as I do! If you’d like more information or pricing (prices start around $1300 excluding flights), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily discuss it in more detail with you!
Chocolate Sourcerer, Dandelion Chocolate