Monday, May 20, 2013

Cashew Festival in Crooked Tree is a Sweet Time in Belize

Cashews, Cashews and more Cashews is the reason for this two day festival held annually in Crooked Tree around the end of May which is held during the season for this awkward fruit. Awkward in the sense that its a fruit unlike many other fruits that has it seed growing on the outside and not on the inside. Crooked Tree is well known around the world for being a Bird Sanctuary but its a place also known for its Sweet Cashews and Cashew byproducts. Cashew by itself is a sweet and very succulent fruit that many love to eat, be very careful though cause the juice and sap can stain your clothes permanently.
Red cashew fruit with nut seed
Driving across the Causeway upon entering the village, although many residents say that there has been very little rain and the lagoon shows signs of drought you still see the magnificent views and the occasional bird including the Jabiru stork.
Crooked Tree Village Lagoon
The residents of the village are so friendly and are always willing to help any first time visitor with the directions to the venue or to tell the story about how Crooked Tree Village came about. Here you see a few men waiting to get their haircut in front of the barber shop before going to the Cashew Festival.

Crooked Tree Villagers
As you arrive at the Festival grounds you will know you have arrived with Belizean music filling the air making you want to sway your body to the rhythm. The festivities start at 10 in the morning on Saturday and goes until 6 in the evening only to be sparked up later that night with a concert by popular Belizean Artists creating vibrant music and people filling the dance floor. The Event picks up again at 10 am on Sunday and continues again until 6 in the evening.
cashew byproduct stalls and attendees
Whilst walking around you will find that there is more to cashew than just nuts that most people are accustomed to getting in a can. Here you can find fresh roasted cashew nuts as well as the sticky sweet stewed cashews, cashew fudge, cashew cake, cashew jam, cashew wine and much more.
Vendor selling Cashew Nuts and Cashew byproducts
Roasted Cashew Nuts
You will notice that there is something for everyone at the festival grounds. If you are looking for a souvenir and something handcrafted you will certainly find that with the artisans showcasing woodwork, beaded jewelry and many other crafts.
Wood Carvers Artisan Stall
For the children you can find many games as well as rides that will have them screaming in joy while the adults drink cold beverages of their choice to beat the sweltering heat.
children playing a game
When you get tired of walking around looking at the many things around the grounds you can go to the food stalls and eat to your hearts content. We found that they were offering rice and beans or white rice and stewed beans with many types of meats including chicken, fish, deer, gibnut and bocotora (turtle). We sat down at Ms. Tillets food stall who had lots of tables and chairs which offers her customers a place to get out of the heat and retreat to the shade.
Fyah Haat Food - Fried Tilapia
Before leaving the festival make sure to visit Mr. Charlie's Wines, who had some of the best wines at the festival to include the famed cashew wine. We made sure to sample quite a few that were on ice to find our favorites. We ended up purchasing quite a few bottles to take home which I am sure we will enjoy sometime soon.
Charlie's Wine Stall
Crooked Tree Village is still a great place to visit during the course of the year as a bird watchers paradise if you missed the festivities.
Yellow Cashew with external seed
If you were not fortunate enough to visit the Crooked Tree Cashew Festival this year, don't you worry you will just have to wait an entire year for next years Cashew Festival.


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