For the Love of Travel and Food

by McNab Editorial Team

Capturing the Cover of the Belize Cuisine Issue

We are excited to share with you The Belizean Cuisine Issue, which is our latest issue to date! In this issue, we take you on a culinary adventure.

For our Belizean Cuisine issue, we decided to share something that has been a part of our history for decades – Cacao

The Past and Present of Chocolate In Belize

Chocolate has long been part of our ancient history, starting with the Maya who used the cacao beans as a form of currency. Since its discovery, the whole world has developed a taste for chocolate. On a global scale, over 7.2 million metric tons of chocolate is estimated to be consumed yearly. The source of all this chocolate lies in the tropics. Belize is one of many counties with warm humid weather suitable for growing cacao trees. Cacao has been a large part of Belize’s agriculture trade since the 1950s and still is today.

Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez

Behind Our Cover

As we celebrate the universal love for food and the upcoming celebration of Belize’s Annual Chocolate Festival held in the South, the Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle Team headed toCopal Tree Lodge with photographer Leonardo Melendez to shoot the cover.

Belize is growing into an agri-tourism destination with many resorts around Belize taking their guests on culinary adventures. Sustainable food production and agritourism are at Copal Tree Lodge’s core -producing organic sugar cane, cacao, coffee, and vanilla crops.

We set out to learn more about these amazing ingredients, in particular, its Chocolate making program. Since the Chocolate Festival is right around the corner, we wanted to learn first-hand about what it takes to produce these delicious delights.

Thus, we were invited to witness, participate and enjoy traditional chocolate making on their Bean-to-Bar Tour. Elon Ranguy and Maynard Jacobs were kind enough to share their immeasurable knowledge about the farm with us.

The day started with a visit to the cacao nursery. Then, getting an introduction to the Cacao plant, to learning about grafting, harvesting, and fermentation. Moving over to Copal Trees Chocolate room, we further learned about roasting, winnowing, conching, and tempering.

Developing the natural fine flavors of cacao is no easy task since it requires great precision every step of the way. Doing the tour, you acquire a pronounced appreciation for all the work it takes to create these mouth-watering chocolates, the world so desires and craves.

About our Cover Location: Copal Tree Lodge

Managed by Muy’Ono Hospitality, Copal Tree Lodge is a sustainably-managed eco-lodge, restaurant, and spa. Including a 3,000-acre farm situated in the tropical canopy of Punta Gorda, the southern-most part of Belize. Surrounded by 12,000 acres of intact rainforest, the property is located at the heart of the watershed for one of nature’s most spectacular marine environments and of course is proud to play a part in the conservation of the marine life of the Belizean reef through sustainable agricultural management and preservation of intact rainforest ecosystems. In fall 2012, Copal Tree Lodge opened an agritourism center providing hands-on learning in the production of chocolate, rum, coffee, and spices.Copal Tree Lodge is a spectacular, unique and pristine destination for food lovers, bird watchers, fly fishers and adventure seekers.

Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez

The next time you take a bite of chocolate, think for a minute about the art of how it was made! If ever in Punta Gorda head on over to Copal Tree Lodge for an immersive experience on their Bean-to-Bar tour!

Also, read our latest issue as an E-Book here.

Written by CC+L editorial team
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Take a look at our journey at Copal Tree lodge for the shoot of this issue in the video below.

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