Though Belizean cacao beans are exported to make chocolate bars all over the world, there are few farms in the country that actually make their own chocolate. Ixcacao is one of those farms and is co-owned by Juan and his wife Abelina, also known as "Chocolate Queen." This nickname originated as she spent the first five years of the business grinding cacao beans by hand using a stone tool dating back hundreds of years to her Mayan ancestors. On this tour you will learn how the cacao plant is lovingly cultivated in harmony with the surrounding forest, learn about uses for un-processed chocolate, such as in tea, and of course learn the traditional method for grinding and creating delicious dark and milk chocolate.
The chocolate making process involves crushing cacao beans using stone tools into a melted paste before blending in the required amount of sugar. It is very important you take a short break to taste the scrumptious chocolate taste before it is placed in the fridge to harden. Whilst you wait for your chocolate to cool in the fridge, you'll eat a home made lunch courtesy of the Chocolate Queen herself. It'll be, without a doubt, one of the best meals of your trip. Then you'll break your chocolate out of the mould and find out what a true bean-to-bar chocolate tastes like.
Established in July of 1985, IXCACAO Maya Belizean Chocolate is a family run cacao farm and chocolate producers. At the head are Juan and Abelina and the farm is situated in the village of San Felipe, Punta Gorda. The products of the farm are all made using all organic Cacao Beans that are processed without the use of any artificial flavoring or synthetic stabilizers. In recent times Juan has been working alongside with Sustainable Harvest International promoting sustainable and organic farming methods to farmers in Belize, and other countries in Central America.