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Travel: Eladio Pop's cacao farm in Belize

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Kitchen Report

(Read caption) Harvested cacao pods on Eladio Pop's jungle farm near Punta Gorda, Belize.

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I almost didn’t go. Even though the thought of spending Chocolate Week at Cotton Tree Lodge in Punta Gorda, Belieze, sounded like a home run as a vacation adventure it was a lot of money and I was having trouble finding someone to go with me. When I called to find out how much room was still available I was told there was only one cabana left: the Jungle House.

All of the other cabanas are nestled around the Cotton Tree Lodge with views of the Moho River. The Jungle House was a quarter of a mile away by itself. Um. By myself and deep in the jungle? I wasn’t sure about this. But after some prompting from friends and family that it would “be good for me” I took a deep breath and sent in my deposit.

And then I thought of my friend Carol. Carol bakes and blogs at The Pastry Chef’s Baking. A business manager at a media mogul in Silicon Valley Carol had once taken time off from work to get a culinary arts degree before deciding she’d rather keep her love of baking as a hobby. Nonetheless, Carol is a true chocolate geek. So I sent her an e-mail seeing if she’d be interested.

“How much time do I have to decide?” she wrote back. I explained that I had already reserved the cabana, she just had to figure out her flights, and could really have up to the last minute to decide. Within a half hour I got a response.

“I’m in.” Phew.

*  *  *  *  *

After surviving a violent thunderstorm and a chorus of howler monkeys the first night we stayed in the Jungle House at Cotton Tree Lodge, I was ready for something a little more structured.

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