What do we do in Belize when family comes to town?

We make Chocolate !

by Scott Woodhams

Yesterday we took a road trip on the road in Belize, down the Southern highway toward Punta Gorda. We took my brother and his wife Rebekah Lynn Woodhams, to Ixcacao Mayan Chocolate farm, one of our favorites! As usual, Juan Cho greeted us with a big welcome, and his infectious laugh. We took a quick tour viewing a cacao tree that displayed tiny flowers waiting to be pollinated, to a full blown cacao pod. We were intrigued to find out the fact that the nuisance “No see-um” bugs play a large roll in the growing of cacao, as they are what pollinate the flowers. So keep that in mind the next time you are swatting at them madly!

Inside we were treated to a demonstration, and trying our hand at peeling the cacao beans, grinding the beans on a generational stone, and ultimately eating 100% cacao. We had it in both liquid (hot chocolate), and candied forms.

We found out about all of the healthy benefits of eating this chocolate (yes!). In its pure form, it is has tremendous medicinal and health attributes, including reversing cancer cells. Do not confuse this with the highly processed nutrient depleted cocoa powder we are used to getting. This is 100% natural, truly farm to table. This was followed up by a traditional Mayan meal including chicken sauted in chocolate (amazing), white rice, greens, and fried plantain. Chocolate zen!

The amazing part is that this whole operation is 5 generations old, operated by the family and some hired help. Juan just added 20 more acres of cacao trees to try to keep up with the demand.

In 2014, Jimmy Carter, former president of the U.S., visited and immediately began a whole foods diet with pure cacao from IXcacoa. Well you know that he recently announced that he was cancer free!

This stuff is amazing and it tastes great too. Due to being a family operated facility, the production is limited, just the way they want it. Juan prides himself on providing superior quality control so the taste remains consistent. They offer so many flavors it’s hard for me to choose. I like dark chocolate, coconut, orange, ginger, and nibs.

We bought our share to eat later and headed to a nearby ruins. Luckily, I found out Anita Reimer Loewen, carries several flavors of the Ixcacao bars at her store, Healthy Addictions, in Maya Beach. So I will be able to get my fix in the future. She is one of only two people that distribute the chocolate in Belize, besides the actual farm! The other is on Caye Caulker. Love my chocolate, and it’s healthy! This really is paradise!

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