We are a tree-to-bean-to-bar chocolate company located in Punta Gorda, Belize. Since 2016 we have produced premium gourmet chocolate and related products using Belize’s fine flavor cacao. We use special cacao from our very own “Peini” farms as well as cacao produced by 150 Mayan cacao farmers in the Toledo and Stann Creek district.
We believe in direct trade as it allows us to pay our farmers significantly more for raw wet cacao beans than the current market and Fairtrade prices. Not only does this model allow us to have quality control over each stage of the processing but it also affords the farmers the opportunity to focus on optimizing their agriculture practices.
All our cacao is sourced directly from the farmers, fermented and dried, in small-batch, at our centralized depot and processing facility in San Antonio.
Processing the beans from the farms in small-batch allows us to uniquely develop the flavor of the beans as each batch is defined distinctly as a result of the micro-climate in which they are grown.
The dried cacao beans are then transported to our chocolate factory to become premium artisanal chocolate.
VP Farming Operations
Mr. Lopez has worked in the coffee business the last 28 years developing wide experience in coffee farming processes, planning, development and implementing eco-friendly coffee farms. His experience also encompasses direct farm personnel management, increasing farm utilization and profitability, inventory and warehouse controls, product quality control, milling and roasting processes.
Thomas joined our merry band of cacao farmers in March 2017 as the nursery manager and has since been promoted to manage our 5 farms including our depot and nursery. He constantly reminds us that the chocolate is already made by him and his 15 team members when they supply us fermented and dried cacao beans for without good beans, no good chocolate can be made!
Emeterio (“Mr. Em”) has been with us since the first time our founders visited Belize to “kick the trees”. Mr. Em has also worked in the cacao Industry and on several development projects in Toledo that started in 1999. Mr. Em hails from Na Luum Ca village, a small village with a little over 100 residents just 5 minutes from San Jose Village, the cacao growing capital of Toledo. Along with his 5 team members, they were responsible for land preparation, planting, and now daily maintenance of our 50-acre farm. At 63 years of age, Mr. Em also cultivates his own 48-acre of land.
Living in San Antonio Village for all of his 44 years, Antonio is an avid farmer cultivating forty acres of family land which comprises cacao, corn, and livestock. Antonio joined us in 2017 and has taken a lead role in managing our Crique Jute Farm. He lives in the village of San Antonio, 3 miles south of our farm and is always within reach if needed. When he is not at our Peini farm looking after the team, pruning and caring for our trees, he, his wife, and 3 children cultivate their own farm.
Mr. Evaristo Cowo is a very hardworking leader, farmer, and father of 6. Baris, as he is commonly referred to in his village, San Antonio, has been cultivating 16 acres of cacao since 1990, 2 of which include a blend of approximately 75% criollo trees. Its production makes up a combined 4,000 lbs (fermented and dried) produced annually.
Baris’ cacao farm is located north of San Antonio Village, 40 minutes walking distance from his home. Cultivated on his 30-acre farmland are various root crops, herbs, fruit, and other tree crops which he harvests and sells at the Punta Gorda Town market.
Besides farming, Baris also takes the time to teach his 2 younger sons the art of subsistence farming by taking them along on weekends to the farm or preparing preaching lessons for his 30 member church group which he leads.
While he is away at the farm or at the market selling his produce Mrs. Pantaleona Cowo, Baris’ wife, takes care of the livestock and ornamental herbs around the home to help supplement their diet and generate additional income.