video: Making Chocolate from Bean to Bar at Ixcacao Chocolate, Belize

By Amanda Paa – Updated December 3, 2021

As many of you know, I am currently in Belize vacationing and also exploring the amazing Mayan culture nestled in the green hills of Placencia and the Toledo district. Yesterday I spent the day learning how to make chocolate with Juan of Ixcacao Chocolate, and my guide Lyra Spang of Taste Belize Tours who grew up on a cacao farm in Belize as well, which her family still operates. Juan’s family is the only Maya Chocolatier in Belize and uses all organic cacao from their land.

It was such an incredible experience, one that has forever changed the way I look at a piece of chocolate. I’ll share lots more pictures, and details about the process, but I wanted to show you this video today. It was fascinating to see these fresh cacao pods broken up, exposing the white membrane (which is edible and tastes like tamarind) that houses the raw cacao beans. We went on to roast the the cacao beans and shell them by hand, then grind them with Juan’s family stone that has been passed down from generation to generation. Creating luscious, 100% raw chocolate with my own hands was a true look into this beautiful story of real food, with nothing synthetic, just as it should be. And I can only say that the nuances of pure chocolate is even more diverse than a fine wine.

If you’d like to follow along with my adventures, you can find me on Instagram (as heartbeetkitchen) or on Snapchat as heartbeetkitchn. Hope you’re having a great week!

Did you make this?

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February 19, 2016


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  1. Ella Frances

    I am dying over how cute you are and this amazing experience!! Thank you so much for sharing. :)
    Xo Ella

  2. danielle // rooting the sun

    amanda, i loved this so sincerely. it’s incredibly cool to see the process in action. and i’m forever about the story. pure chocolate bliss. xx

    • amandapaa

      that means so much to me danielle! i hope you get to experience it some day. i can’t even begin to describe all the flavors of the raw cacao. and that white membrane! xo

  3. Jody Ault

    I love reading about your adventures with food. I am going to try your various recipes. You are an amazing chef.

    • amandapaa

      aw, thanks for the sweet message Jody. you are the reason i love doing what i do!

  4. Laurie

    Amanda, Amanda –
    I love your blogs fresh new look and the breadth of things you’re doing on it! I’m inspired.

    • amandapaa

      thanks so much Laurie, great to hear from you! xo