Top 4 Foodie Adventures in Belize
It's not every day that you enjoy experiences like lunching in a Mennonite community, making silky chocolate out of cacao beans, and drooling over the offerings in a jam-and-hot-sauce factory. But that's the kind of culinary day-to-day you get when you're in Belize. Top it all off with tasty fry jacks and bottles of Belikin beer.
Deep within this tropical, English-speaking country—an easy three-hour flight from Dallas-Ft. Worth International—with around 300,000 residents are adventures that will surprise even the most sophisticated foodie, from small towns in Northern Belize on down to Punta Gorda near the Guatemala border.
Marie Sharp's hot sauces
This celebrated hot-sauce producer—you can buy the sauces at some US grocers and they are on the table at most every Belize restaurants—boasts a gift shop like no other. During my visit Marie Sharp, wearing a bright smile, dropped by to check on the operation as I was sampling not only hot sauces but fruit-y products like green mango chutney, coconut jam, pineapple jam, and guava jam. Visitors are welcome to tour the adjacent farm where chile peppers are grown and, of course, dig into samples and buy products to take home (at deep discounts).
Making chocolate and chocolate wine
San Felipe and San Pedro Columbia
Through Cotton Tree Lodge, a luxury boutique hotel that is so into chocolate it owns a factory that makes Fair Trade, single-estate chocolate (look for Cotton Tree Chocolate bars while in Belize) from cacao beans sourced from a cooperative in nearby Punta Gorda, you can visit cacao farms. More than just a tour, you get to eat lunch with a Mayan family, meet the local growers' association, and make chocolate. During the two Chocolate Weeks each year (the next is March 16-23, 2013), the deal sweetens: you make chocolate bars to take home and hang with members of Maya Mountain Caco, a socially responsible cocoa-bean export business founded by the lodge's owner.
Try fry jacks
Corozal and Orange Walk
Fry jacks (pillow-y fried bread) are a breakfast staple in Belize. The best deals are at cafes in Northern Belize, such as at Jo-Mel-Inn. Served with sides of papaya jam, at this particular cafe, they are part of a traditional Mayan breakfast of tomatoes, eggs, tortillas, coffee, and orange juice that costs just $6BZ ($3). Other recommended places to try fry jacks on the cheap in this region is Zetina's Fast Food on the upstairs level of the market in Corozal (pay $6BZ for fry jacks, coffee, stew chicken, and beans (or eggs with tomatoes, onions, and sausage or ham) and Luigi's on Main Street in Orange Walk where you can also order omelets and fried beans.
Have lunch in a Mennonite community
Orange Walk District
Through Lamanai Outpost Lodge, one of Belize's most posh jungle eco-lodges and on the grounds of Lamanai's ancient Mayan ruins, an afternoon visit can be arranged to one of the country's Mennonite communities. (Belize is home to around 10,000 Mennonites.) After a buggy ride through the community, where you're shown the school, church, store, and doctor's office, as well as farming equipment, you are invited into a family's home and served a serious farm-fresh spread of light foods and sweets as well as beverages—all of it based on traditional Mennonite recipes.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo credits: Chocolate making class photos courtesy of Cotton Tree Lodge; all other photos courtesy of Kristine Hansen
Member Comments (1) Post a Comment
Great piece on foodie adventures in Belize. We've been operating down there for over 25 years and have always LOVED the food! You've hghlighted several of the best. But here's one you may not have heard of: at our tiny island eco-resort out beyond the barrier reef on Glover's Reef Atoll, we recently experimented with a new dish featuring lionfish, a tasty fish that has recently invaded the Caribbean and is an ecological problem. Because this invader is harming coral reefs, we, like many others, have been hoping to spur people to eat them by making them a delicacy. Lionfish for breakfast! on Long Caye, Glover's Reef, Belize. You can read more about it here: http://belizeadventure.com/2012/03/enjoy-an-invasive-species-on-your-belize-vacation/ -- Franklin Seal
Fodor's Top News & Features
- 10 US Islands Where You Can Beat the Winter Blues
- 5 Reasons to Go to Charleston, South Carolina Right Now
- 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families in the US
- 10 Great Spots in Paris with a Literary History
- Top 10 Places to Go This Spring
- 15 Budget-Friendly Spring Getaways for 2014
- World's Best Overwater Bungalows
- Fodor's Approved: 15 Most Stylish Women's Shoes for Travel
- Where to Eat at This Year's SXSW Festival
- 15 Legendary Hotels Around the World
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- $599 & up -- Western Caribbean 7-Nt. Cruise; Kids Sail FreeNorwegian Cruise Line
- $63 & up -- NorCal: Sonoma County Hotel Sale, up to 50% OffSonoma County Tourism
- $1799 -- 7-Nt. Luxe Caribbean Cruise incl. Air, $1000 OffOceania Cruises
- $629 & up -- 5-Nt. All-Inclusive Jamaica Trip, 50% OffCheapCaribbean.com
- $208-- Miami: New Luxury South Beach Hotel, Reg. $449The Redbury, South Beach
- $299 & up -- Caribbean 7-Night Cruise w/UpgradeNorwegian Cruise Line