We are Chris Beaumont and Jo Sayer and we first came to Belize in 1998 to set up SailSports Belize, the first windsurfing and sailing school in the country. Chris had been working as a process engineer for Owens Ilinois in Toledo Ohio and I was a TV advertising producer working for a boutique advertising agency in London. Both of us were disillusioned with our busy lives where work figured more prominently than pleasure and separately, we left our careers to follow our dream of a simpler life. We met in Barbados learning to be sailing and windsurfing instructors and at the end of the 6 month course, ventured to Belize.
At that time it was hard to get chocolate in Belize and Chris who is a self- confessed chocoholic used to rely on his parent’s annual visit to bring him a suitcase full of chocolate. In 2007 we attended the first ever Chocolate Festival in Belize in the southern district of Toledo. Totally inspired by a visit to a local cacao farm, we came home to San Pedro with a sack of beans and started experimenting in our tiny kitchen in our house on the beach. The Kakaw brand of 70% dark chocolate made its debut in Wine de Vine in December 2007.
Over the next few years, Chris’s engineering background combined with my advertising experience helped to grow this uniquely Belizean product which uses locally sourced organic, fair trade and direct trade cacao beans and Belizean cane sugar as the only ingredients. In 2012 I graduated from the Professional Chocolatier Program with Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver, with Honors and in December of that year, we took the plunge and opened Belize Chocolate Company Chocolate Boutique, the first chocolate boutique in the country. The gift shop/chocolate cafe offers a delicious selection of individual truffles using as many Belizean ingredients as possible such as Belizean citrus blossom honey, coconut, pineapple, bananas, cashews, rum and even Belikin sorrel stout. We also offer unique chocolate gifts and have a full chocolate menu of drinks and treats.
Our story would not be complete without the mention of our son Noah, whom we adopted as a baby here in San Pedro in 2005. He has been an integral part of our chocolate journey and our Noah Boah’s chocolate syrup was developed as a result of his idea. He often helps out at the shop, has a very developed palate for a 12 year old and loves marshmallows!