The team here at the Belize Cacao Consortium (BCC) cordially invites you to join us for a fun and educational weekend in Belize.
Come and visit our 3 cacao plantations, our cacao processing depot and our artisanal chocolate shop to learn the “BCC Secret Sauce” behind how we practice our own unique “Art of Cacao Science”.
If you have been following our progress and want to see if owning a parcel in your very own fine flavor organic cacao farm is right for you, this is your chance to do your own “boots on the ground” due diligence.
All in all, it will be a very fulfilling and worthwhile way to spend a fun and educational weekend (or longer) in the tropics!
It is your chance to come and visit, get to know us, enjoy the delights of Belize and profit from the education you will receive about the world’s favorite food… Chocolate!
If you want to reserve some of the remaining spaces (the tour is limited to 12 adults to maximize your experience) on the next group cacao farm tour please enter your information at the bottom of this page.
What’s in Store?
Your amazing and truly unique real estate discovery adventure begins when you arrive in Belize international Airport (Philip S. W. Goldson International) BZE on Friday September 21st.
You need to arrive by noon or earlier as you will be meeting your fellow intrepid travelers and connecting straight to Punta Gorda, our base of operations in Southern Belize, with the domestic flight leaving at 2:45pm.
Together with your new-found friends we will board a 14-seater Cessna 208 regional aircraft and fly out over the beautiful turquoise waters to Southern Belize.
We will be spending the next 3 nights in Punta Gorda at our host hotel, Coral House.
After a long day of travelling you will be happy to relax, get to know the other attendees and meet the BCC team over poolside cocktails followed by a relaxing, oceanfront meal at Walucos…a local favorite restaurant.
Saturday morning, we start the day with a hearty breakfast served at the hotel before boarding a private van and heading out to start your farm tour. First up we will be taking you to see the Columbia Farm. A 24 acre cacao farm that was the very first farm we acquired. You will get to meet Feliciano Pop, our Peini Farm Manager, who will take you on a guided tour of the farm. This farm was partially planted when we acquired it and after 18 months of hard work, Feliciano and his team have brought the previously abandoned portion of the farm back to life.
Through Feliciano’s live demonstrations, you will learn how we restored and now maintain the farm.
Now, many of you I am sure have eaten chocolate before, right? But have any of you ever seen a cacao pod? Now you will get a demonstration in how the pods are carefully harvested before being split open to scoop out the sweet, juicy white raw cacao beans inside. You will even get to crack a few pods yourself!
After a freshly prepared local lunch at Coleman´s restaurant it will be time to check out the next farm. The largest farm of our network is a 52 acre farm called San Jose.
When acquired it was completely overgrown, untouched jungle. Exactly what we were looking for! As the land has never been worked before, the virgin soil is perfect for growing high-quality organic cacao.
We cleared away some of the unnecessary overgrowth, just enough to plant 11,000 of our baby saplings. Most of the high grass and trees were left in place as they work to protect the saplings from intense sunlight and also act in retaining moisture in the soil.
You can see in the image below that we have implemented a new system for planting these farms. Previously the traditional way was to plant in vertical rows. But this is not ideal as it does not deter soil erosion. So, when we engineer our farms we plant in contours.
This is a large, hilly farm so after trekking through most of it you will be ready to head back to the hotel.
After freshening up it´s time for cool cocktails by the pool at Coral House before we head for dinner, this time at Mangroves. Also located right on the water front…sorry about that!
During dinner you will have so much to talk about after your first day with our full team of experts on hand to answer any questions you have about cacao, farming, chocolate and Belize in general.
Sunday morning bright and early we will once again start the day with a hearty breakfast served at the hotel before boarding our van and heading out for day 2 of your farm tour.
We head for the Crique Jute farm, also known in English as San Antonio.
This is a special farm for us because it is home to our cacao sapling nursery as well as our fermentation and drying depot. We start at the nursery!
This purpose-built nursery has 50,000 saplings that are almost ready to be planted. But we only need 15,000 for our farms with another 5,000 as shade trees. The other 30,000 are being supplied FREE of charge to our 154 Maya cacao farmers who have signed up to our Socially Sustainable Bean Buying Program.
When signing up to our program we not only arrange to have these Mayan cacao farmers certified Organic under our banner and agree to buy their cacao beans from them at a generous premium above the local competition, we also offer 20% of the value of their beans sold to us as a premium, which they can take in saplings and/or training.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day…teach that man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Feliciano and his team will show you how only the best beans are selected, then prepared and planted in a carefully selected mixture of soil and sand where the saplings will grow under our care for 6 to 8 months, to be ready for planting season.
After the nursery is the highlight of this section of the tour where we take you up to our custom-designed fermentation and drying depot.
Following traditional Maya sun-drying designs, while adding some modern “cacao science” and construction, we now have a first-class facility that can handle up to 80 metric tonnes of cacao annually. For some perspective, that is just less than the entire volume of cacao exported by the country of Belize in 2017.
This is where the magic happens in the chocolate making process and the magician behind it all is waiting to meet you!
Samuel Tzui is our Belize Cacao Traders (BCT) Manager. He looks after the bean buying, the organic certification, the traceability protocols and the fermentation & drying of all of our cacao.
Samuel will explain to you how the beans make their way from the farmers trees to our depot and how they are meticulously monitored and tested to reach the perfect level of fermentation before passing to the drying decks.
Sam works hand-in-hand with Armando Choco, our Executive Chocolate Maker, to ensure that we have the exact flavor profiles that our buyers are looking for and that we require for our own chocolate products.
In the drying beds the beans are raked and turned for 6 or 7 days to get an even drying and to take the moisture content down to 7.5%
These beds currently hold 20,000 lbs at a time.
Once the beans have reached the exact point that Samuel and his team are happy with, they are safely stored before being sold for export.
Anytime a buyer requests a sample of our beans this is where it comes from.
Later on, in 2018 and into 2019, we have plans in place to introduce some mechanized drying. This will allow us to keep up with the increased volume and to continue to supply a consistent, uniform product.
Next up, everyone´s favorite part…Lunch! Followed by a trip to check out some ancient Mayan ruins.
After hiking around the ancient site of Lubaantun we head back for, you guessed it…drinks by the pool!
Followed by Dinner, again by the pool, and a traditional local Garifuna native drumming performance… with some dance lessons thrown in for the brave!
Next morning, we rise and shine early to catch a flight back up North to Ambergris Caye, where we will be taking you to our crown jewel, our fine flavor, artisanal chocolate shop and kitchen, Mahogany Chocolate.
Our facility is located in Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, a Curio Collection by Hilton branded resort.
Once again you will get to meet Armando Choco where he will take you through the final stages in the chocolate making process. Here he will take the same beans you saw the day before and turn them into chocolate before your very eyes.
You will even get to try your hand at it yourself and make your very own chocolate bar, which you can take home with you.
This last part of the tour is what really brings the whole process and this unique real estate ownership investment opportunity to a head.
You will be amazed at the quality of the chocolate and you will know how much work, effort, science, care and attention goes into producing a single chocolate bar.
Next Tour - February
Peini Cacao Plantation Farm Tour
Dates: 8 to 11 of February
Sign up below and come visit us in Belize to find out more!
We look forward to showing you Belize Cacao Consortium (BCC)