Eat Your Heart out in Belize!?
I was over in Chetumal, Mexico for the weekend and stumbled upon an article which stated that Mexico has introduced “Food Tourism” to welcome more tourists to the country. What a very smart idea! Can Belize benefit from a similar idea, I asked?
The article explains how the Mexican government has organized an “Aroma and Flavors” gastronomical tour of 10 days, which is the latest effort of the government to attract worldwide tourists, who are interested in something beside pyramids and beaches of Mexico. There were 100 chefs, researchers, journalists and foodies, involved in this event.
The Mexican government, besides supporting some of the culinary tour guides, has also introduced a series of “culinary routes” in Mexico. For instance, the Thousand Flavors of the Mole route includes Puebla, Tlaxcala and Oaxaca, the cities famed for their heritage and history and the preparation of mole, the specialty of Mexican culinary. Dozens of culinary tours are available to the tourists in Mexico that range from an afternoon trip to several weeks. The prices revolve around $350 per day, which also include the room rates of hotel and plenty of food. Many tours also offer culinary lessons as well.
I enjoy Tapas at Aji Resturant
This kind of tour would definitely attract me to a tourist destination and I believe that Belize has much to offer in this area. Besides the sea and land attractions, Belize’s food is outstanding! There is so much rich food, fruits and cultural identity within the culinary arts in Belize.
Through Ambergris Today I have had the excellent opportunity of dining in many restaurants around the island and now I truly know why so many visitors fall in love with Belize – its food for one, that’s for sure! YUM!
Fortunate to be a judge at last year's Lobster Fest
Having benefited tremendously from ecotourism under the slogan “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret”, Belize is poised to benefit from marketing into Food Tourism as well. We already have great culinary and food events such as the Taste of Belize culinary competition and individual festivals that take place around the country throughout the year like the Cashew Festival (Crooked Tree Village), Cacao Festival (Toledo), Lobster Festival (San Pedro, Caye Caulker & Placencia), Pibil Festival (Progreso), Corn Festival (Corozal), to name a few.
Tourist having fun at Lobster Fest, San Pedro
San Pedro’s Lobster Fest is probably one of the biggest, running for an entire week and has been featured in Frommer’s 300 Unmissable Events and Festivals Around the World” guide book and visited by celebrity weatherman Joey Stevens & Bob the Parrot from One Caribbean Weather/WSEE TV.
Most food festivals in the country are two-day weekend events and surely our country can benefit from longer running food/culinary festivals like the San Pedro Lobster Festival and other culinary routes mentioned above like the ones Mexico is introducing. This gives potential visitors a bigger incentive to come experience and celebrate with Belize. Don’t you think so? I’m just saying…let’s work on it! I believe we are ready for Food Tourism!
I grind cacao beans to make fresh choclate drink in local Toledo Cacao Farm
Cacao Beans being cleaned at Cacao Festival in Toledo, Belize
Cultural entertainment at Toledo's Cacao Festival
For the meantime, don’t miss out on these two great festivals that are right around the corner:
* Lobster Fest is coming up in San Pedro – June 19 to 26, 2011 (Caye Caulker & Placencia TBA)
* Toledo’s Cacao Festival is closer – May 20 to 22, 2011