The middle of the jungle might seem an odd place to take in a chocolate festival. The other such sweet retreat that we profiled thus far goes down at a jaw-dropping resort address that is among the most exclusive anywhere in the region.
The Toledo District of Belize does not carry the same cachet. The southernmost area of Belize, it also happens to be the country’s least-developed region – an adventurer’s dream packed with dense rainforests, expansive caves, coastal mangroves and pristine offshore cays rife for exploration.
Toledo also just happens to be the choicest spot for the very best cacao in all of Belize, ergo its designation as home to The Annual Chocolate Festival of Belize.
Formerly known as The Toledo Cacao Festival, the event is held every Commonwealth Day Holiday Weekend in late-May; this year, May 24-26. Throughout the weekend, the country’s rich and storied cacao tradition dating back to the Maya, as well as Belize’s cultural history, is celebrated at various spots throughout Toledo.
The 2013 event kicks off with a Wine, Chocolate and Belikin Night to be held within the 15,000-acre rainforest reserve at Belcampo Lodge. In addition to the usual music and fun, guests will be among the first to sample a new Belikin Chocolate Stout being released to coincide with the Festival!
Other Festival highlights include a street party on May 25 in Punta Gorda, capital of the Toledo District, which will feature traditional dance performances from the country’s various ethnic groups – the Maya, Garifuna, Creole, Mestizo, and East Indian.
The grand finale on May 26 will see festival-goers enjoying cocoa grinding and cocoa drinking competitions, art exhibits, more traditional cultural music and dance, as well as presentations on the four stages of cocoa production all held at the Maya temple of Lubaantun.
Throughout the festival, visitors get to rub elbows with chocolatiers and cacao farmers from across the country while getting their fill of Belize’s sweetest product in some uncommonly wild and historic settings – sounds perfect to us!
For more on The Annual Chocolate Festival of Belize, visit the event website.
*Lead image photo credit: Hickatee via Flickr.