Don’t look now, but Belize is about to move to the front of the line in terms of international chocolate festivals when the nation hosts its 9th annual–bigger and better–Chocolate Festival, between 22nd and 24th May 2015.
You read that right; expect three whole days of imbibing, so you’ll need a headquarters from which to go forth and indulge. The sweetest place to stay in Placencia is Chabil Mar (chabilmarvillas.com) where you can rest and relax in-between seeing, tasting and otherwise sampling decadent foods and delicious events.
But, you must act fast if you wish to stay at Chabil Mar, because most villas are already booked for the chocolate festival.
“I’m guilty of showing up in Belize every year for this event,” said a woman who asked that her identity not be revealed since her husband thinks she’s at a spa with friends. “This celebration gets better every year; it’s a fitting tribute to this nation’s commitment to make its cacao bean crop a major industry and an excuse to invite the world to commemorate the decision made to cultivate it by the Toledo Cacao Growers Association in 1984.”
History notwithstanding, the ninth homage to all things chocolate will require you to be a bit strategic as you set out on your tour of chocolate. Visit this website http://chocolatefestivalofbelize.com/ to learn where and when each event takes place, so you’ve a game plan for maximizing your time throughout all three days.
And don’t fear the calories. If you stay in motion, traveling from one event to the next on foot can help you work off calories, and the anti-oxidants packed into the dark chocolate products you consume will boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
There will be many epicenters of chocolate during the festival. For example, the Taste of Toledo Street Fair on Saturday 23rd May morphs streets into staging areas for lectures, chocolate-making demonstrations, cultural displays recalling Toledo’s ethnic history and musical performances.
Patronize food stalls offering everything from chocolate-laced barbecue to beer, take a kayak ride break and buy souvenirs and memorabilia—lots of it cleverly chocolate-related, of course. “I long to bring home souvenirs for my family,” our anonymous source added, “but that would give my secret away.”
Staged since 2007 by Belize government, commercial and tourism entities–and originally called the Toledo Cacao Festival–the Chocolate Festival of Belize is one of the nation’s most heavily attended and popular events because it spreads the word about the growing commercial cacao industry and bolsters the nation’s annual Commonwealth Day holiday weekend in late May.
Staffed by Belizean volunteers, there’s a philanthropic aspect to the fest as well. Not only do businesses and citizens benefit from festival revenues, but profits help undertake community improvement projects throughout the Toledo District.
For additional information: email reservations(@)chabilmarvillas.com or call (011 501) 523–3606. If calling from the U.S. or Canada, use Chabil Mar’s toll-free number: 1-866-417-2377.