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Dec 22, 2015

Beans and Farms and Howler Monkeys, Oh My!


Eladio Pop, a longtime cacao farmer, touring our troop through his jungly cacao farm.

While I’ve been wrapping up our Chocolate 101 and Chocolate 201 classes for the year, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about our upcoming trip to Belize in February. Lately, these questions are making me nostalgic for my own time there almost three years ago, and I find myself remembering all of the things I smelled, touched, tasted, heard, and saw for the very first time on that trip.

I didn’t anticipate learning so much. After all, I had visited a cacao research center in Costa Rica, and read all about the process of fermenting and drying cacao beans. But there is something so different about what you learn through your senses compared to what you learn from reading about something.  At this point, I’ve visited a handful of cacao farmers, farms, and fermentaries; but there was nothing quite like my first farm visit.

smell      blue2

I’m thankful for these opportunities to answer our customers questions because I’m reminded of the first time I smelled the unmistakable and overwhelming scent of fermenting cacao fruit and beans inside Maya Mountain’s fermentery; my first taste of fresh cacao fruit (even the gross bitter flavor of the bean I wasn’t supposed to bite into but did anyway); the deafening sound of howler monkeys who resemble something from Jurassic Park; the feel of grinding cacao nibs into paste using a metate; and the sight of a sunset on the Moho River while resting on the hammock on my balcony.

beansIf you’re considering joining us for our trip, you can check out our itinerary and reserve a space on our Trips page.

Or if you’re looking for a little more convincing, Molly, one of our chocolate makers and a great storyteller shared her experience during Chocolate 301 here.


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