Saturday, May 28, 2011

Toledo Cacao Festival in Belize - Part 1

By: Will Moreno
May 21st 2011


We were very excited at the idea of a road trip to a place that most Belizeans tend to forget because they say its too far away. Punta Gorda is a 4 hour drive away from Belize City traversing the Western Highway to the Hummingbird Highway and then the Southern Highway while passing many villages and scenic views along the way.  We were graced with the wonderful views of the majestic Maya Mountains, banana plantations, orange orchards as well as villages that are steeped in culture.

As we drove down the highway to our final destination in Punta Gorda it was very evident that we were no longer in Belize City and that the life in the villages along the road such as Armenia, Valley of Peace, St. Margaret's Village, Middlesex, Santa Cruz, San Roman, Bella Vista, San Isidro, Jacintoville just to name a few, was definitely different.
Driving past the villages we could definitely see the old wood- planked thatched homes being replaced by the new concrete construction with zinc roof.  Some were even perched atop the hills. We passed kids carrying jars of water on their heads as well as carrying water in gallon jugs tied with strings and strewn across the handles of bicycles, campesinos or ranch hands carrying firewood bundles on their backs for miles as well as piglets roaming the yards freely. Surely Belize offers a life that's different from anywhere in the USA, Canada or the UK. Belize is a wonderful place to visit or even to call Home.

Entering into Punta Gorda Town, we were greeted by the beautiful, breath-taking turquiose waters of the Caribbean Sea in an area called Cattle Landing which is just outside of the main town. The town filled up slowly with people from all over Belize and other parts of the world  who gathered to celebrate Toledo Cacao Festival 2011. This festival celebrates the cacao pod that produces a seed that was used during ancient Maya civilizations as currency, and of course, chocolate!
 The Toledo Cacao Festival started with a night of wine and chocolate at the Coral House Inn, where the main attraction was chocolate in all its glory. Belize chocolatiers such as Cotton Tree, Goss, Kakaw and Cyrila's were in attendance showcasing their refined and delicious blends of chocolates. If you happen to love sweet, smooth milk chocolates and creamy white chocolate, you might love Goss Chocolates. If you happen to love bittersweet, dark chocolates with unique blends such as mango or ginger, then you'll love Kakaw Chocolates. If you love a chocolate that's smooth and semisweet you will love Cotton Tree Chocolates and if you love artesian chocolates made in the Mayan fashion perfected hundreds of years ago, you will love Cyrila's Chocolates.

Radisson's Chefs prepared decadent dishes such as bananas foster with chocolate, coconut chocolate macaroons, chocolate cake and more. If you wanted even more chocolate to take your chocolate taste buds into ecstasy, they had a flowing, enticing and mouth-watering chocolate fountain.

 Old Masters Rum debuted their new blend, Na'Lu'Um Exotic Belize Cacao Liqueur, which was very smooth, sweet and sinfully delicious.

The evening's festivities ended with a dramatic and brilliant fireworks display that added to the intoxicating ambiance of a perfectly, chocolatey evening.

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1 comment:

  1. Love it! The details given about this quaint town that came alive during the Cacao Fest weekend will surely inspire those who haven't visited to venture out to beautiful Toledo!