At Belize Lodge, Lessons in Coffee and Cocktails
By Paola Singer
Aspiring chocolatiers, baristas and mixologists may find inspiration in Belize this summer.
Belcampo, a 16-room luxury lodge and 3,000-acre organic farm in southern Belize, is offering an artisan-in-residence program related to sustainable food production.
The program includes a series of half-day workshops, starting with coffee roasting and brewing classes led by James Freeman, the founder of California’s Blue Bottle Coffee company.
Mr. Freeman has been an advisor to Belcampo, helping it find agricultural partners with the skills needed to develop plantations at low altitudes.
The classes, scheduled from June 4 to 9, include “cuppings,” or coffee tastings, to teach students about aroma, mouthfeel and flavor.
Next in the lineup, in July, are hands-on seminars dedicated to chocolate. Taught by Katrina Markoff, the award-winning chocolatier behind Vosges Haut-Chocolat, the course will begin with a flight of drinking chocolates to teach guests the difference between the original Aztec drink and the milky, often sweetened European version.
There will also be history lessons tracing the path of cacao from the jungles of the New World to the cafes of London, Vienna and Madrid, followed by trips to the property’s cacao orchards and its adjacent bean-to-bar facility to participate in cacao fermentation, roasting and tempering.
In August the focus turns to cocktails, with classes taught by the spirits expert Josh Goldman of Los Angeles’s Soigné Group. Drinks will be made with fresh sugar cane juice from the farm’s organic cane varieties, freshly picked citrus, pineapple, mango and other tropical fruits planted on the estate. Bitters and aromatics will be prepared on site.
Each half-day artisan-in-residence workshop costs $75 per person.