At 515 acres, Finca Chocolat is one of the largest cacao farms in Belize.
Finca Chocolat is a 515 acre (208 hectare) cacao and timber farm sitting in the eastern shadows of the Maya Mountains in southern Belize. We consciously chose this location not only for its agricultural suitability but also to support our environmental goal of increasing biodiversity as much of the land had been clearcut for ranching previously.
Our trees are grown onsite from selected seed of the variety Trinitario. The first cacao were planted in 2016 and by the close of 2026 we aim to have 400+ acres in cultivation with a projected annual yield of 100 tonnes of dry cacao at maturity.
We employ an agroforestry model and actively work to increase the diversity and tree canopy in areas that had been previously cleared for ranching. The progress is hard-won but worthwhile as Finca Chocolat produces excellent fine-flavor cacao and is part of the solution to soil and climate issues.
Finca Chocolat in southern Belize is at the heart of an area known as the Mundo Maya which are the lands that comprised the territory of the ancient Mayan civilization. Cacao and its cultivation were an integral part of that world for over 2,500 years. Cacao was not only used in the famous Mayan drink, Xocolotal, the dried beans were also used as a common currency in all of Central America, up until the time of the Aztecs and the Spanish conquest.
Today Belize is known for its unique strains of Trinitario. These different strains, along with the soils and the climate come together to create a very special balance of flavor with light acidity and a touch of tannins to produce truly fine chocolate.
Our mother plants and the seed they produced were chosen for the health, vigor and the full pods they offered without the need of pesticides or sprays to control the diseases plaguing much of the cacao producing world. We also naturally help control these diseases by growing our trees in higher light and with good air circulation. This is made possible with our high rainfall and fertile soils.
From seed selection, germination, planting and good husbandry through harvest, fermentation, drying and packaging we control the entire process to ensure a consistent product of the highest quality for our customers. The trees planted at Finca Chocolat nestled at the foot of the Maya Mountains are now coming into production. Please contact us to try a sample of our beans for your next batch of chocolate.
Sustainability, employment, and community are all related. You can not have one without the other two, no matter how you arrange the words. Nowhere is this more obvious and necessary than with small communities, in a small district, within a small country like Belize.
A third of Finca Chocolat’s employees are from the neighboring village of San Felipe with the remaining coming from villages within a few miles. Ninety per cent of our current employees have been with us almost since we started in 2015.
We treat them well, pay them above the average, and most importantly, they know they have a FULL time, PERMANENT job. Knowing they have a paycheck every Friday means they can send their children not only to primary school, but also high school and perhaps college.
We know, or know of, almost all the residents in San Felipe and the surrounding area and when the village needs a donation or two for the primary school, or a holiday celebration they know they can count on us to help.
As Finca Chocolat grows we’ll need more workers. We know there will be no problem finding good employees when that time comes.
Sustainability doesn’t seem such a big leap when the employees, community, and Finca all work together.
As the Farm Manager at Finca Chocolat Rupert is onsite daily overseeing the crew, caring for the trees, supervising our post-harvest processes and ensuring Finca Chocolat produces exceptional fine flavor cacao.
Mr. Smith holds a degree in agriculture from the University of Belize and was previously the Cacao Farm Supervisor at the old Hershey Farm prior to moving to BFREE as their farm manager. Mr. Smith has a nearly unparalleled level of experience in growing cacao at scale in Belize.
David Santilli is the Managing Director of Finca Chocolat and brought together the financial backing for the farm in 2015. Mr. Santilli has a long and successful record of founding, growing and managing businesses. He personally oversees market development and the sale of fine flavor cacao at Finca Chocolat.
David is a dual national with Belizean and U.S. Citizenship and has lived in Belize since 2006. Mr. Santilli also owns two successful tourism businesses in Belize and has deep ties to the community.
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Finca Chocolat, Ltd.
Toledo District, Belize
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