The best chocolate in the world originates in Belize. The ancient Maya were the first to discover chocolate. Some evidences suggest the Mayans had chocolate at every meal, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Chocolate has become a popular food product that millions enjoy every day thanks to its unique, rich and sweet taste.
Facts on Chocolate
- Chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants
- Some studies suggest that chocolate could prevent memory decline
- A bar of dark chocolate contains less fat and sugar, and higher content of cocoa represents more benefits
- Some benefits are lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the riskofcardiovascular problems, and preventing cognitive decline
So next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you may not have to feel so guilty about it. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, a number of health benefits may be associated with this delicious treat.
History – Cacao cultivation in Belize
In 1980, Hershey, one of the largest chocolate producers in the world, had their main cacao farm in Belize. Located along the Hummingbird Highway south of the city of Belmopan, they produced chocolate from local growers and guaranteed a good price for farmers.
During the 1980s, the program Belize Accelerated Cacao Production Project was very popular. The idea was to teach the local farmers the best methods and to introduce the most productive varieties of cacao. Unfortunately, the world price for cacao dropped from $1.00US per pound to less than $0.30US so the Belize project was dropped.
Nowadays, production amounts in Belize are still very small by world standards but the product is organic and has a superior quality. Recent planting could increase Belize’s cacao production fivefold in the next few years.
In Belize, you can have a half-day tour making chocolate. It all starts from the cacao tree and ends with a Mayan chocolate bar in your hands. Visit a cacao farm where the farmer gives you a complete history of his organic cacao farm.
During this tour, you can taste organic cacao beans from the tree. You will learn how to make your own chocolate on a traditional grinding stone, just like the ancient Maya did.
The price ranges from $35US TO $50US, and you just need to bring a hat, insect repellent, camera, reef-safe sunscreen and money for shopping.
One of thebest-knownplaces to learn about chocolate is in the south of Belize, for example inCopal Treeyou can get immersed in the experience of cacao production from start to end. TheirBean to Bar chocolateclass offers to visitors a very unique opportunity to understand and participate in the entire process of transforming high-quality cacao into chocolate.
If you love chocolate, on your next trip toBelize,booka Chocolate Tour and have a sweet cacao experience with one of the most delicious chocolatesin the world.
Written by: Cristina Reyna