By Ann Kuffner
Fine chocolates are an up and coming niche business market here in Belize. There are now a number of solid specialty companies that produce fine Belizean chocolates within the country. Belize high quality cacao beans thrive under the shade of Toledo’s wild jungle canopy. The owners of Kakaw Chocolate have proven that they can coax the maximum flavor out of their Belizean cacao beans. They produce the finest gourmet chocolate currently available in the country.
I first tried Kakaw Chocolates at Wine de Vine, a specialty wine and gourmet food store on Ambergris Caye. This is also where I first met the owners of Kakaw, Jo and Chris Beaumont, who are British expats who became Belizean citizens. We often chat at the Friday night wine tasting. On several occasions they offered to give me a tour of their local chocolate production facility. It’s right here on Ambergris Caye, in the building behind their home. I finally took them up on their offer.
Although a chocoholic, I was clueless about how cacao beans are processed, or chocolate made. Chris and Jo walked us through the various steps of the cacao treatment process. Chris showed us the equipment and processes they use to transform cacao beans into fine chocolate products.
After the tour, we learned how this entrepreneurial couple got into the business of making chocolate here in Belize.
Transforming Cacao Beans into Fine Chocolate
Belize’s cacao beans are grown in the Toledo region. This is the southern most region of Belize. It’s a remote and wild region of Belize. In Toledo, pure Mayan Belizeans still live off the land, in traditional villages.
It can rain up to 120 inches a year in Toledo. That’s double the rainfall of northern Belize. But, apparently the conditions are perfect for growing fine cacao beans. The cacao plant only thrives when it grows next to tall trees whose canopy shelters the cacao from the wind and direct sun. Continue reading “Kakaw – The Fine Belizean Chocolate Made on Ambergris Caye!”