Showcolate 2021: celebrating cacao cultivation and chocolate production in Bocas del Toro
The 3rd annual Showcolate Fair this year was a success with active participation from Bocas residents and businesses in the chocolate baking contest as well as the businesses who hosted their very own chocolate-themed event along La Ruta de Cacao. Bocas del Toro is the first cocoa production region in Panama and with this fair we are paying our respects to its cacao producers and highlighting cacao and chocolate production as a rightful cultural heritage of Bocas.
The Buena Vista team took first place in the competition with a Showcolate version of their famous Buena Vista brownie. Charneille Daley took second place as well as People’s Choice with her stunning chocolate mousse dome. A few of Bocas’ best filled fair’s judge panel. (from left to right) Raul Houlston – former lawyer, poet, and art and culture aficionado, Damaris Smith – president of the Meri Artesania Organization, Joseph Archbold – internationally award winning chef/owner of Octo and Recetá Michila, Solinge Iglesias – President of Rotary Club among many other roles in the community, and Meivis Ortiz – founder of Mayamei Cacao and recipient of the Top 50 Best Cacao 2021 at the Fine Cacao Award in Paris.
La Ruta de Cacao
Each event was a unique contribution to the multi-day annual fair and a fine display of the significance the fair continues to carry by shedding light on how important it is to support cacao farmers and producers – with a focus on Bocas del Toro cacao. This begins by understanding even just a fraction of the incredible amount of work and care that goes into the intricate process – from the tree to the taste buds. This route of rich cacao experiences is also a significant contribution to the precious and ever-important circular economy of Bocas.
The Floating Bar officially put the ‘fun’ in ‘cacao’ with their Showcolate 2021 Spa Day featuring a ‘make-your-own-cacao-mask’ bar and their two Darklands Delights Cocktails: Choca-tini and Dark & Fluffy – all made exclusively with Citizens of Chocolate cacao. Bocas had a whole bunch of happy mermaids on Spa Day. Wasteless World held a Cacao Trivia night at Selina to bring more awareness to the cacao and chocolate producing industries. Receta Michilá made cacao the star of the kitchen for a night; intertwining it into savory and sweet dishes in a special 4-course dinner. Finca Flora held a grafting workshop with the director of MIDA in Almirante which was sponsored in part by Citizens of Chocolate. Meivis Ortiz of Mayamei Cacao gave a a workshop educating people on how to analyze a quality cacao bean in order to make delicious chocolate also sponsored by Citizens of Chocolate. Following the workshop was a wine and chocolate pairing featuring Bocas-only brand chocolates. La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm showed us how it all begins with a tour of their cacao farm and a tasting. Delmira Delmi, principal of Tangerine International School invited Mathilde Grand, curator of the fair and representer of Citizens of Chocolate for a children’s workshop at the school. The focus was on cacao production. They talked about the cacao tree, the botanical, the pods, the beans, and Kakaw – the glyph for the Mayan god of cacao. Everyone made a drawing of him and soon we will see them posted online! The day finished with planting two cacao trees in the schoolyard continuing the lesson that there is no chocolate without planting trees and reforesting (urban planting is an urgent need in Bocas Town). One important mention is Bocas Pharmacy who did not hold an event but donated as their participation in La Ruta de Cacao.
Showcolate Fair couldn’t happen without its proud sponsors who know that their contribution is making a big difference in not just the region, but the world: Pirate Arts Experience, Distribuidora Isla Colón, Supermarket Isla Colon, Finca Flora, Red Frog Deli Gourmet, PanaPluma, Bocas TV, Darklands Foundation and Citizens of Chocolate.
All are welcome to participate in the chocolate contest as well as La Ruta del Cacao 2022. They can start now by checking out @showcolatefair on Instagram and Facebook and contacting Mathilde Grand directly with questions on WhatsApp +507 6621 4108.