It was a whirlwind journey to the southern most Toledo District of Belize this month. I tooled about Punta Gorda, day tripping into the rain forest, exploring the origins of chocolate. This is Mayan country where Cacao trees have grown for centuries. See my first article in The Chicago Tribune on Bean to Bar Chocolate and stay tuned for the next one in the Travel section on this cacao farm exploration Agri-trip. We now have many options to taste this amazing bean to bar product, thanks to the efforts of a few organizations.
One of the inspirations for this visit was this accomplished woman I met via email while researching the fascinating topic of cacao farming- Emily Stone of Uncommon Cacao.
Emily Stone in one of a kind: she has poise, confidence and energy like you’ve never seen, and that’s just the start. She is moving beyond what we term “fair trade”, addressing the most pressing issues in underdeveloped countries such as social justice, international trade issues, sustainable supply chain dynamics in additon to reforestation, sustainability and consistent quality/flavor metrics in the chocolate industry itself. The small farmers have had whiplash for decades due to corporate advances and retractions.
Please tune in to hear an incredibly motivating story of a girl on a mission. Pass this to your friends and share across social media. This really matters and while it’s not directly about wine, the model for “origin designated” chocolate, through the farming, fermentation, and chocolate making, parallels wine in more than a few ways.
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