Bar of the Month (February 2023) Belize
Updated: Mar 1
It's the first day of the month, which means we have a new bar. As Valentine's Day falls in the month of February, we went with our personal favorite and bar that everyone loves most: our 70% Maya Mountain with beans from sunny Belize
Founded in 2010, Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) put Belize on the craft chocolate map as a pioneer in the social enterprise model, by sourcing high quality organic cacao from hundreds of smallholder farming families, thus massively increasing and improving market access for farmers in the area. MMC was the first exporter in the country to produce high-quality, centrally-fermented cacao for the U.S. craft chocolate market.
MMC works with 350+ certified organic smallholder cacao farming families in the Toledo and South Stann Creek districts, most of whom are indigenous Q’eqchi’ and Mopan Maya and who have been producing cacao for generations.
The MMC team is 100% Belizean Maya, and buy beans from the over 350 smallholder farming families, and then process the cacao in one central location. This ensures quality, as a certain minimum is needed for proper controlled fermentation and drying of cacao beans. In many cases, this minimum amount is more than what one small farming family could grow and harvest on their own. Then, the beans undergo a unique 3 stage sun drying system to create optimal flavor.
MMC is focused on being a sustainable, long term and transparent partner to farmers and producing uniquely delicious and sweet cacao that creates real positive impact for the communities of southern Belize. MMC provides market stability and also guarantees market access and a reliable price for cacao farmers in the district.
In 2014, MMC was awarded an Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP) designation, and through genetic testing we know that the majority of cacao cultivated by families in the MMC farmer network are Amelonado-dominant hybrids and other Upper Amazon Forastero hybrids.
In 2019, Maya Mountain Cacao was awarded a Cocoa of Excellence Award, which placed it within the Top 20 cocoas globally.
The local market price for cacao in this area is $1.64 a kilo Farmers in the MMC network get paid $3.13 a kilo for their cacao – so almost double.
Our 70% Maya Mountain bar has lovely notes of honey, pineapple, raisin. Last year's harvest had stronger notes of raisin and dried plum which proved not only a nice surprise to us as makers, but also a wonderful reminder that nature is not stagnant, and that cacao much like wine, changes every year with every harvest!
It is one of our best sellers, and so far we have won two awards for this bar in 2020 and 2021.
If you are curious about appreciating the flavor journey that craft chocolate can offer, then this is the perfect bar to start with!
It also pairs beautifully with many wines, particularly white wines as well as being a nice accompaniment to a proper cheese board with dried fruits and nuts. We have also used this bar as a sample in many craft beer & chocolate pairings. It is versatile and truly a craft chocolate journey! you can try it this month for a special price!
don't forget, we are hosting a Truly Craft Chocolate tasting event on the 11th of February! there are limited seats left so book your ticket now to save a spot to take your taste buds on a wild flavor journey with us!