Toledo Cacao-Fest: Distinctive Chocolate, Diverse Cultures
It’s time to stimulate your senses and head down to Belize’s beautiful deep south for the 5th Toledo Cacao Festival. Grown by Maya farmers, the Criollo and Trinitario cacao species have over the years naturally crossed to produce new varieties. These new strains along with Toledo’s rich soil and the organic methods used by the local farmers have produced a bean with a rich, pungent chocolate flavor which is much sought after by chocolatiers.
Packed with activities for the young and old alike, Cacao Fest pays tribute of the organic Cacao farmers and Belizean Chocolatiers and is a celebration of cacao, culture and the rich flavors of the Toledo District. The dates for this year’s event are the 20th – 22nd May 2011.
Friday, May 20 – Wine and Chocolate
The festival launches with the Wine and Chocolate Evening on Friday, May 20, at the Coral House Inn. Wine and Chocolate has become a festival favorite with good food, wine, music and of course, great chocolate made from distinctive Toledo Cacao. This year’s signature opening event will feature the fabulous singer Nelita Castillo and will be rounded off with a firework display.
A range of sweet and savory finger food and decadent chocolate treats from Belize’s four finest chocolatiers – Kakaw (from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye), Goss, Cotton Tree and Cyrilla’s Chocolate – along with a selection of Premium Wines, and cacao fruit liqueurs from Old Master, the Belizean family-owned distillers.
Saturday, May 21 – Taste of Toledo
With chocolate and cacao exhibits, arts and crafts, cacao for kids and bargained priced tours you’ll get a true Taste of Toledo! Meet Belize’s four chocolatiers, tour the factory and view cacao related products including jewelry and cacao soap.
There will be many things to see and learn about learn about the production and processing of how to make the traditional kukah ukul drink. Or take some tortilla making lessons. Broaden your minds with fine art and archeology exhibits form the National Institute of Culture and History. There is live music such as neo-tropical afro beats and Garifuna drumming. Cacao For Kids – Free storytelling and arts and crafts for the children at the Punta Gorda Library and of course lots to eat and drink.
Take advantage of the Festival Tours – PG is Toledo’s gateway to lush rainforest and beautiful offshore cayes. Sample some the Southern delights with special festival tours. Take a Cacao Trail tour with TIDE Tours and visit Cyrila’s cacao farm and chocolate factory in the lovely village of San Felipe. Or take a Sea Toledo Trip – Snorkeling trips to Frenchman’s Caye in the port of Honduras Marine Reserve with trained tour guides form Garbutt’s Marine.
Sunday, May 22 – Culture, music and Dance at Lubaantun, San Pedro Columbia
Cacao Fest brings you a day of history and culture, fabulous steel pan music and Maya dance along with great local arts, crafts and delicious food for sale. With its beautiful location at the foothills of the Maya Mountains, views of the Rio Grande and bordered by streams, the ancient Maya site of Lubaantun provides a mystical setting for the grand finale.
Learn more about the “Place of the Fallen Stones”: with specialist guided walking tours of, and a talk by a renowned archaeologist specializing in ancient Maya history, and then sit back and enjoy a magical contemporary Maya dance performed by the Folkloric Ballet of Quintana Roo, cultural music by the king of harp and strings, Mr. Florencio Mess and great steel band music from the Pantempters and the Paneriffix.
With mouth watering food, live music, sea and jungle tours, art & archaeology exhibits and more, the Cacao Fest is not to be missed. If you have any questions about the Festival, contact info@ToledoChocolate.com, or call the Festival Office on 722-2531.