Mahogany Chocolate – Our Story

Sep 18, 2020Company News

Watch Episode 1 of our new “Chocolate Con Choco” webinar series featuring Luis Armando Choco, our Executive Chocolate Maker.

Greetings from our Kakaw and chocolate land, Belize!

Welcome to our series of “Kakaw and Chocolate” journey. In this episode we will share with you who we are and in future series share our processes and how we make our chocolate!

We are pleased to introduce our company, Mahogany Chocolate Ltd and our range of chocolate bars, “Belizean and Brukdown” and chocolate powder drink, Chocol’Ha.

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Who we are

We are a “seed-to-tree-to-bean-to-bar” chocolate company located in Punta Gorda Town, Belize. Perhaps the first, all-encompassing, seed to bar chocolate company in Belize that simultaneously employs the use of traditional and technological systems to improve and enhance production at all levels. More so, we produce premium gourmet chocolate and Kakaw bi-products for locals and the world to enjoy, using Belize’s fine flavor Kakaw.

“Kakaw” or commonly known as “Cacao” is an integral part of the Maya Culture. The Maya people to this present day cultivate 95% of Belize’s fine flavor cacao. Up until 2007, 100% of Belize’s cacao was exported to Europe. However, in the past 13 years, 15% of the total cacao production are being processed by local chocolate companies primarily for the tourism market.

Our 2016 birth is credited to one of our Founders, David Sewell, during a fact-finding mission to southern Belize! His encounter with farmers and their struggle to consistently sustain channels to market for their kakaw beans gave all the requisite reason to act!

Our mission is to produce premium gourmet chocolate products using the finest Belizean Kakaw beans that are ecologically and sustainably grown. We are a vertically integrated company that has control over the chocolate making process from seed to bean to bar.

Our Mission

Insurmountable cacao beans locked in storage depots or in most cases packed in farmer’ dwelling corners was a scene to behold and needed action! In contrast, the quality and flavors of the beans not to mention the growing global chocolate demands are all but the few reasons needed to set a plan of action in motion – to bridge the gap between the producers and the consumers!

Our Cacao Source

We believe in direct trade as it allows us to pay our farmers significantly more for their raw wet cacao beans than current market, Fairtrade and organic prices.

Since our inception, 98% of our cacao has been sourced directly from our growers. They are sourced in the cacao’s raw stage, in small batches, transported to our centralized processing depot where they are fermented and dried for a combined twelve days.

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.

In addition to the cacao sourced from 150 of our subsistence growers, we also harvest cacao from our very own “Peini Cacao” farms. One hundred and ten acres of our trees, planted in 2017, have started to produce its first nominal crop, normal for the initial year.

Harvests from our farms gives us the “peace of mind” to sustain our growing demand for our products.

Our Process

Our process starts from the seeds. Carefully extracted, the seeds are sowed and managed for 6 months in our own on-site nursery. Once ready and prepared they are transplanted onto the field. The trees are managed and cared for, diligently by our farm workers.

At year four, the trees start to produce cacao pods though in small quantities. At this stage the seeds are extracted, placed in select containers and transported to our depot where they begin the first six days of fermentation.

After fermentation, the beans are dried for another six days. The beans are constantly checked for fermentation rate and dryness before they are approved for sorting and packing. Cut tests and flavor analysis are made and recorded.

A cacao tree can produce an average of 30 pods per year. Each pod contains approximately 35 cacao beans. When ripe cacao beans contain white liquid substance known as pulp.

Beans from our growers undergo a similar post-harvest process. Each weekly harvest is processed in micro lots or small batches. This process 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 Punta Gorda Facility where they are transformed into premium artisanal chocolate!

At the factory, the beans undergo a series of selections to ensure only the best beans are processed for our chocolate! Constant monitoring following our operational procedures and quality checks at every process fosters consistency in the flavor and quality of our products.

Chocolate for Everyone

Our Chocolate making process takes four full days – from beans to finished chocolate product! Each product batch is made according to their recipe. Our products are created to provide “chocolate for everyone”!

From extra dark chocolate to milk and white chocolate!

At Mahogany Chocolate we aim to transform the highly sought after local Belize “Kakaw” into a high quality gourmet product at affordable cost for both the local and export markets. All our chocolate is available in over 100 locations across Belize.

Our revered Brukdown milk chocolate bar, a Belizean local favourite, is prized for its “grab and go”, nostalgic and energizing taste, a treat enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

On the other hand our prestige dark chocolate, desired for its intrinsic fruity flavours, reminiscent of exotic and wildly crafted food, brings pleasure to those who choose to savour and indulge in its soothing charm.

Our Pride

“Chocolate of the People, by the People for the People”

We take great pride in our chocolate products. The unique flavour of our chocolate starts in the farm where the cacao is grown!

The people that work on our farms, at our processing depot and our chocolate factory all love what they do and take great pride knowing that not only are they transforming a great product into a greater product but transforming the lives of many growers whose lives are dependent on “Kakaw” farming.

The team behind Mahogany Chocolate has devised a socially sustainable and ecological program that is already adding value and creating employment throughout Belize.

Tune in for other episodes as we bring to you more about our company, our products, our processes and our sustainability program!

Have a happy chocolate day!

Luis Choco

Mahogany Chocolate Ltd.

Mahogany Chocolate Ltd.

Belize & Panama