A Taste of Belize and It’s Summer Festivals
The summer sun is blazing while the breeze off the sea provides a refreshing reprieve. You found your family’s spot under the shade of a cocoplum tree. The smell of bbq is in the air and the light sound of steel drums beating is drowned out by live Reggae somewhere close by. Kids running barefoot, adults lounging in their lawn chairs and the vendors with their crafts- mayan baskets, wood carvings and colorful paintings- are for sale all around. There’s laughter and dancing and a mingling of cultures with locals and tourists celebrating nature’s bounty together. It’s an honor to have been invited and partake in the local fanfare of a Belizean festival.
One of the most authentic parts of Belize is that people tend to eat what’s in season; meaning when Mother Nature deems that the breadfruit grow, you’ll find those on the menu instead of the standard french fries or fried plantain side. When seasons open, Belizeans, in their typical free spirited and laid back fashion, use it as a reason to celebrate. The next few months are a rich time of year and that means there are festivals to attend all over the country, all summer long!
Many of us know cashews to come in a very expensive can off the grocery store shelf, while here in Belize, we know they grow on trees and are sold from the basket of the people who pick and prepare them. Reminiscent of a red or yellow sweet pepper, the fruit dangles from its branches, held precariously by a small black pod. In that pod, lies a single cashew. Just outside of Belize City, in a place called Crooked Tree, at the start of May (6-8), enjoy a glass of cashew wine, try the jelly made from the cashew apple and eat the robust organic nuts as you watch the various competitions and exhibitions.
If you find yourself in the southern district of Toledo at the end of May- you may be in time to witness the Cacao Festival. One of Belize’s most prized resources, you’ll be hosted by the Maya people who will perform their traditional dances, invite you to suck the pulp of the cacao bean and encourage you to help them make chocolate from scratch.
If you’re here visiting, odds are you intend to spend some time on the sea- San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia all host their own versions of Lobster Fest throughout the month of June. From Lobster sausage, to lobster quesadillas, fritters, skewers, dips and ceviches, we challenge you to think of a different way to prepare this prized food from the sea. Stand on the shore and watch the fisherman bring in their catch and witness with watering mouth as it makes its way to the grill right in front of you.
Whether it’s any of these delicious treats or mango, pibil or conch, you’ll soon realize, there’s a reason to celebrate and an invitation to taste Belize at any of its many festivals this summer.