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May 22, 2012

A Festival celebrating the Cacao

Chocolate is enjoyed by adults and children alike. The image treasured in the minds of many are unwrapping a silver or gold wrapper to reveal the traditionally dark delight. But some people are not aware that chocolate comes from the cacao plant, many of which are grown in southern Belize. News Five’s Isani Cayetano travelled to Punta Gorda over the weekend and attended the festival in honor of the cacao fruit.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The sixth annual Cacao Fest, a celebration of the multipurpose bean, which for centuries has been a staple among the Maya, was held in Punta Gorda Town over the weekend.  Since its inception in 2006, the festival has grown to include other cultures; the main attraction nonetheless, is chocolate.


Monica Roe

Monica Roe, Volunteer, Cyrila’s Chocolates

“Cyrila’s booth is having a great day in terms of visibility [and] having chocolate demonstrations. [There’s] a lot of education going on.”


Indeed, a walk along Front Street proves that an emphasis has been placed on teaching visitors about the plant and its many uses.


Lance Lewis

Lance Lewis, Visitor

“I think it is very good and I am proud to see where Belize is and where it is heading.”


Isani Cayetano

“Were you aware that there are so many uses for the cacao plant, from currency to medicine and now even beer?”


Lance Lewis

“No. I wasn’t aware.  I just drank chocolate from ever since and I ate chocolate but I didn’t realize the diverse products that came from chocolate.  I just bought a chocolate cacao soap so when I’m finished I should look very good.”


While oil from the fatty seed has been extracted for use as a cleanser the primary treatment, on display here, is the candy bar.  Cyrila’s Chocolates, a mainstay at the yearly festival, thrives on word of mouth advertising.


Abelina Cho

Abelina Cho, Co-Owner, Cyrila’s Chocolates

“Juan and I are trying to promote our culture.  We try to get together with other international people like sharing the ideas [through word of mouth].  They’ve been talking a lot about us and we really appreciate it.”


That appreciation is quite evident in the wine tasting.  Locals and foreigners alike are gravitating towards Abelina’s booth where samples are being given to wine lovers.



“And this is pure cacao wine?”


Abelina Cho




“Wonderful.  It’s delicious.”


Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about the taste and the texture of the wine.”



“Well it’s sweet.  It has notes of chocolate.  It tastes natural and it’s quite lovely.”


Isani Cayetano

“What has been the experience of Cacao Fest for you this time around?”



“Well I got to see cacao growth from the ground floor.  I’ve been to Cyrila’s several times and it’s nice to see Cyrila’s share their culture and their chocolate with so many other people.”


That exposure has seen tourists traveling down to Punta Gorda for the day to experience the sights and sounds of the Maya culture, their food and dance as well as that of district’s other inhabitants.



“We drove down from Placencia today and we stopped at the ruins just outside of town and we’ve had a great time.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “A Festival celebrating the Cacao”

  1. MadDOG says:


  2. Angela says:

    A group of 9 drove over seven hours, from Blue Creek (North – Orange Walk) to see this festival! Cyrila’s Chocolate was a highlight to many in our group! Cho Family are wonderful to spend time with on their tour or to talk with!

  3. Tush says:

    It has been great to see the Mayas doing their part in promoting their own culture. It is rich with different things that some may not know. KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cocoa fest is really growing to be a mini agric. show.

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