Belize: Made in Country

Belize produces excellent cacao with a mix of cacao varieties. While much of the highest-quality cacao is exported to makers in the US and Europe, Belizean chocolate makers are doing great things with locally sourced beans and in the process, keeping more of the value in the country.

Belize Chocolate Company

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Dark with Sea Salt

 

Aroma: rich chocolate with pleasant malted grain notes reminiscent of beer

 

Flavor: Lovely. Notes similar to a good beer, both rich malted barley and a citrusy/vegetal note of hops. The salt adds a great richness that evokes buttery chocolate chip cookies.

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended. I don’t know where the beer flavor comes from but it adds a great malty complexity.

Dragon Chocolate

Based in Belize, Sam and Giulia of Dragon Chocolate make intense, deeply flavorful chocolate with beans from local farmer Marco Teck. Find them at Sattva Land Retreat Center in Belize as well as select gift shops in Belize and the US.

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80% Dark

 

Aroma: This bar jumps right out at you with a rich aroma: freshly ground nibs, spice, floral, dried red fruit and grapes

 

Flavor: Wild, vivid, and intense. The flavor is robust and rich - some pleasant acidity starts with a slight bite and mellows to a softer fruitiness. It has some earthiness, nuttiness, and dark flavors of raisin and red wine. The intensity suddenly fades for a beautifully smooth, clean finish.

 

Recommendation: This is the kind of bar that expands your sense of what chocolate can be in both style and range of flavors. The minimal processing results in a bar that preserves the inherent flavors and natural intensity of cacao, and it is really worth trying chocolate that lets you experience that. Highly recommended!

 

Batch info: Hatch no. 026

100% Dark

 

Flavor: Deep earthiness. intense but fruity, some lingering bitterness but not excessive.

 

Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. Dragon makes very intense, unrefined chocolate. It works very well with the 80% - I think some sugar is important for balancing out the earthiness and acidity. It’s harder to do that in a 100% bar. Good if you are looking for intense, unrefined cacao flavor.

Batch info: Batch no. 026

Mahogany

Mahogany Chocolate makes chocolate with beans grown on their own farms combined with beans sustainably sourced from over 150 Mayan cacao farmers around the country.

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80% Extra Dark

 

Aroma: earthy, cut wood

 

Flavor: not entirely unpleasant, but a distinctive muddiness that probably indicates over-fermentation, a little bit of raspberry.

Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. It doesn't fully express the potential of Belizean cacao, which can be fantastic. However, it was definitely enjoyable and it's important to support chocolate makers developing the bean-to-bar scene in the country of origin. If you are in Belize and see it, it's worth a try.

Batch info: Best by December 2020

Belizean

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72% Dark

Flavor: Not unpleasant, but not particularly exciting. A bit flat. Notes of coffee grounds

 

Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. I like trying bars made in the country of origin, and I think it’s important to support makers using local cacao. However, I was not particularly impressed with this bar. Belize Chocolate Company, Kakaw, and Dragon are better.

Batch info: Best by November 2020