The Chocolate Lovers Travel Club trip to Belize, May 2008
The CLTC hosted its inaugural trip at the Cotton Tree Lodge near Punta Gorda in the Toledo District of Belize May 22-29, coinciding with the 2nd Annual Toledo Cacao Festival. 11 people were on the trip including CLTC organizer Holly Stabin and Clay Gordon (me) as the expert guide.
Chocolate-related activities during the trip included attending the kick-off cocktail reception for the Cacao Festival in Punta Gorda town, participating in the main festival activities in Punta Gorda's main square, visiting the cacao farm of Eladio Pop followed by a demonstration of how to make the traditional Mayan "cacao water," a multi-course chocolate-themed dinner, starting fermentation of a batch of beans (through the first two turns), making dark chocolate bean-to-bar, chocolate tastings, and more.
Other activities scheduled for the week included snorkeling, visiting Mayan ruins, visiting the Garifuna village of Barranco (home of singer Andy Palacio), a medicinal plant walk, swimming, kayaking, drinking the great local beer (Belikin) and rum (One Barrel), checking out cocoa and ginger wine, and making new friends.
CLTC members who took the trip will be posting photos in albums as well as videos and linking to them from here, and posting stories (as forum threads) for people to read and respond to.