In 2006, when Cotton Tree Lodge was still under construction, Business Manager Jeff Pzena bought what he thought were almonds in the Punta Gorda farmers market and discovered that he actually had cocoa beans.He became more and more interested in chocolate, visiting cacao farms around Toledo. He learned how to make it himself in his apartment using equipment purchased online.
Jeff began producing Cotton Tree Chocolate' at the lodge as a casual side-project and part of the Chocolate Week Itinerary. Two participants on the February 2008 Chocolate Week thought the product had potential.They decided to invest with Jeff and launched Cotton Tree Chocolate the May 2008 Toledo Cacao Festival.
For the first few months, Cotton Tree Chocolate was produced in a small, climate-controlled room behind the Main Lodge.In less than a year, the company was selling its bars all over Belize and moved into its own factory space in Punta Gorda in April 2009. The factory is open to Cotton Tree Lodge guests, and tours of the facilities are regularly scheduled.
Each batch of Cotton Tree Lodge is made from a single harvest from a single farmer. A slip of paper packed with each chocolate bar includes information about the cacao grower.The beans are purchased through the Toledo Cacao Grower's Association, a cooperative in Punta Gorda, ensuring that all of the beans used are Fair Trade and organic.Cotton Tree Chocolate is available in 70% Dark, 55% Dark Milk, and 40% Light Milk bars.
For more information about Cotton Tree Chocolate, contact:
Sales, Marketing & Distribution