Utopia is the home of 2500 cacao trees. Harvest happens twice a year. Each bean is hand-picked and treated with a lot of love on its way to becoming delicious chocolates and much more ...
On the Utopia Cacao Tour you can not only learn, see and taste all about the “Food of the Gods“, you also get to make your own yummy treats of chocolate. And yes, as the Utopia Eco Hotel is located on the Utopia Cacao Farm, the adventure begins right on the deck of the hotel!
There you meet the Cacao Tour Guide, today it's Jenny. She explains: “The Utopia Cacao Farm started small in 2012. Now we have more beans than we need for our own products, so we can sell the cacao to the local community for a fair price.“
Compared to the world trade market of cacao, the Utopia-Farm (of course) is tiny. In 2020 the harvest was 2200 pounds. A good Year! Unfortunately at the end of the same year a hurricane destroyed most of the blossoms and minimized the coming harvest drastically.
In 2020 Guatemala has produced 12 tons of the fruit and ranks 19th in world cacao production. Cote d’Ivoire is the biggest player, producing over 2 million tons. According to “Business Wire“, the global chocolate market 2020 was worth more than $137 billion.
During ancient Mayan times cacao was even more valuable and the dark beans were used as currency. “When the Spanish conquistadors saw this, they started to call cacao ‘Oro Negro’, the dark gold“, states Jenny. But cacao is so much more than just money.
This amazing multitasker for example has more nutrients than most other super foods. More than 300 effective substances have been found in raw cacao so far. This makes the cacao bean one of the most complex foods in the world. “You could probably survive for a long time if you were stranded on a deserted island with just cacao trees on it“, says Jenny.
But don‘t eat too much! Raw cacao contains a considerable amount of histamines. In addition, it has oxalic acid, which can cause kidney stones in specially predisposed people. And because it contains theobromine, which has a stimulating effect similar to caffeine, it keeps you awake.
Fortunately chances of getting stranded on a desert island with just cacao are slim. But maybe you want to keep the health issues in mind, when you are making your own chocolates on the Utopia Cacao Tour.
You get to taste the beans in all their different processing states: First you explore the fruity sweetness of the fresh pulp, than you get to taste the fermented, roasted and grounded beans. What´s best, it’s super easy to make your own chocolates as you will see.
Even before the Utopia Cacao Tour comes to an end, a piece of self made chocolate will melt in your mouth ...