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#337460 - 05/16/09 10:43 AM Chocolate lovers ready for upcoming cacao festival
Marty Offline
Chocolate lovers sweetened by upcoming cacao festival

There is an event coming up in the deep south that sounds promising for chocolate lovers and will provide an excellent opportunity to get better acquainted with the natural beauty of the Toledo District. The third annual Cacao Festival is drawing near and today Chair of the festival committee, Armando Choco, visited our studios to give us the details of this yearís activities. The festival, which is organized by the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and the Belize Tourism Boardís Toledo branch, showcases the rich culture of cacao and chocolate produced in the southernmost district. It is also a way of extending the tourism high season and according to Choco, itís an event that chocolate lovers wonít want to miss.

Armando Choco, Chair, Cacao Festival Committee
ďThe event will cover the wine and chocolate evening that will be held on Friday the 22nd. It will be at the University of Belize Punta Gorda Terrace. That will feature the Delille Academy Choir, the marimba players from Tumul Kin and itís basically an evening for people to socialize to the taste of wine and to the taste of chocolate. On Saturday also, we have the taste of Toledo. The taste of Toledo is held at the Punta Gorda Central Park. We will be having a cross section of local dishes in the Toledo District. Weíll also be having chocolate products; ice cream and other products made from chocolate, craft fair also. Then we also have something for the children; cacao for kids is what we call it whereby children will not be left out. Everything little that relates to chocolate, education for the children. That will be held at Punta Gorda Civic Centre and of course, we have for the rural communities, it will be a day that they can come into town. If they want to go on a boat ride to the Bay of Honduras, it will be quite reasonable for the children, affordable for the farmers especially to go for a boat ride, see Toledo. And of course, in the evening, for the tourists, we have the Culture in Harmony event that will be different. The private sector businesses will be in and around Punta Gorda will be having an activity in the evening. Then the following day, Sunday, thatís when we have the cacao trail tours whereby we give both international visitors and the local visitors the opportunity to experience cacao farming and also to experience chocolate making process.Ē

The Cacao Festival will take place from May 22-24.

News 5

#337651 - 05/17/09 10:28 AM Re: Chocolate lovers ready for upcoming cacao fest [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Sweet Taste of Cacao

You may not know it, but the cacao fruit grown in Belize is one of the tastiest in the world, and more than that, it fetches a premium price on the export market. And that is because it is organically grown in the Toledo District by Mayan farmers using traditional methods. That means no chemicals, no grow-fast fertilizers, no large scale over-production. That strict adherence to a natural growth ethic is what makes Belize’s cacao fruit so sought after. And in a week’s time, the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and its one thousand and seventy members is inviting you to come down to PG and learn about the glorious past and the promising future of the cacao.

It starts on Friday and runs right through to Sunday with a wide offering of events which highlight the cacao influence aspects of Mayan culture. And even if that’s not really your thing, there’ll be loads of really tasty chocolate – much of it made in Belize. Armando Choco is organizing the festival and told us what to expect.

Armando Choco,
“Basically we are celebrating Cacao and chocolate. It is a community event, it is an event that is held annually and it is organized by the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and the Belize Tourism Industry Association Toledo chapter. Its main purpose is to extend the tourism season and of course to celebrate and to interact with a lot of locals, celebrating the importance of cacao and of course leading from the farmer all up to making chocolate.

What you’re seeing here Jules is one of the products that the farmer produces in the Toledo District. This generates income for the farmers. This is one of the high end flavour cacao beans. If you look at it, it might not look as attractive to some of the people out there but what is inside this cacao pod is of great quality and from this cacao pod, after going through the process of fermentation, of drying, going through the economics of selling, buying, it goes into products such as the Maya Gold Bar, Dark Chocolate, Cacao Chocolate, and of course the more added value chocolate.”

Jules Vasquez,
These chocolates are all, a lot of people will say it isn’t nicer than a snickers.

Armando Choco,
“For some chocolate lovers they will say they are very expensive, second they will say they are dark, they are better. But that is one of the challenges we have. A lot of our Belizeans are more inclined to buying sweet chocolates, something just five minutes taste and it is done. But what we have here is a new step into the chocolate market.”

“One of whole reason for having Cacao Fest is for us to extend the tourism season to a longer period. For example in Punta Gorda or Toledo, we don’t get as much tourism as the other parts of the country but these are some of the ways that we are trying to promote Toledo as a tourism destination. You know having more people coming down and it is a long weekend so it is perfect for Belizeans to get into their car, get on the bus, and come down to Punta Gorda and see how the whole cacao process goes on.”

James Bus which is a cosponsor will be running what’s called a chocolate bus as part of the promotion – where commuters will be given chocolate treats just for getting on the bus. Belize exported one hundred and three thousand pounds of cacao beans last year for half a million dollar sin earnings – three hundred and fifty thousand of that went back to the 271 producing farmers.

Channel 7

#338052 - 05/20/09 08:14 AM Re: Chocolate lovers ready for upcoming cacao fest [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


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