Jungle Cat Cacao is a small-batch, artisan chocolatier based in Wilmington, NC. Our chocolate is made exclusively from Belizean cacao, which has a uniquely tropical, and not-bitter taste. We are currently making and distributing a 60% cacao chocolate bar called the “Jagu-Bar” which is made from Belizean cacao, Belizean cocoa butter, and unrefined cane sugar. This chocolate bar is single-origin: the same beans that are pressed for the cocoa butter are used to create the chocolate.
Jungle Cat Cacao has a sister company, Cacao & Cargo LTD, which is our legal entity in Belize. Cacao & Cargo is responsible for transporting the cacao from the Toledo District of Belize to Belize City where it is exported into the US. We also have a five acre cacao farm situated on a large piece of jungle property in Belize, on the Moho River. The cacao trees on our farm will not be ready for harvest for another few years. In the meantime we source from Finca Chocolat, a near-by farm which grows sustainably and naturally, and pays a living wage. Because we operate the supply chain from farm to bar we are able to secure the highest quality cacao at the best price.
Jungle Cat Cacao is shipping used school textbooks, donated from Pender County, NC, to Belize. We are importing these books to be used in villages (some of which are off-the-grid) in the area near the farm. So far we have donated about 25 boxes of used books with more shipments planned. We hope to continue and expand the distribution of charitable goods to this area in the future.
The origin of the Jungle Cat Cacao / Cacao & Cargo LTD chocolate farm and company lies in the purchase of 188 acres of off-the-grid jungle property on the Moho River in Belize. As the logging roads extend into the rainforest in Belize so does the habitat of the endangered species of wild animals (and plants) disappear. We keep a close eye on our land, which is on the southern bank of the Moho River where, so far, no legal logging roads are being used or are currently planned. We are lucky to hear the howler monkeys in the trees and see the prints of the jaguar in the mud on our land. We have planted our 1,500 cacao trees in accord with agroforestry, using the healthy old growth trees for shade, and cutting only the dying and smaller trees and undergrowth. From time to time someone will illegally poach one of our trees, which is a sad event. However, we are grateful that we have the chance to safeguard the natural wealth of this neo-tropical rainforest as best we can…to prevent the wholesale logging which would normally occur under private ownership. We have also planted several hundred mahogany trees and intend to expand our farm to include plantain, citrus, and coconut.
Jungle Cat Cacao is still in its beginning stages and is currently managed and operated by only one person, owner Joe Taylor. This is not the case in Belize. Jose Bo of Santa Ana Village is in charge of operations in Belize. His sons have also been a huge help, specifically Samuel Bo who helps in many ways including acting as the sawyer and carpenter and helps with transport logistics as well. All the farm operations are done in a traditional Mayan way; we cut and plant by the moon.
Jungle Cat Cacao offers Belizean chocolate, raw cacao beans, cacao tea, and coming soon, roasted cacao snack packs in a one ounce serving size called “Belize-Energy!”. We are also introducing a 20 gram turmeric product which we are buying from our neighbors, Del Socorro Belize, on the Moho River. They hand-process their rhizomes and have a high percentage curcumin turmeric which has a powerful flavor.
Worth mentioning is the fact that the Jungle Cat Cacao farm lies in the lands that were once the Mayan Empire. The Mayans were the first to cultivate cacao to make chocolate. We are providing cacao and chocolate made from trees growing in the same soil and tended by hand as they were 1500 years ago.
Thanks for your interest and support.