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Local Chocolatier Raises Funds to Visit Cacao Farm in Belize

Puja Satiani has started a fundraising campaign for an educational trip to Belize.

Local chocolatier Puja Satiani hopes to visit a cacao farm in Belize. (Photo via Twitter, @PujaSatiani)
Local chocolatier Puja Satiani hopes to visit a cacao farm in Belize. (Photo via Twitter, @PujaSatiani)
In March 2011, Puja Satiani checked her phone for a brief moment between an afternoon workout and a meeting with colleagues at her law firm, when she got devastating news. Her paternal grandfather, one of the most meaningful presences in her life, had passed away. 

Her grandfather's death led to Satiani revisiting her life and priorities.

"Around this time, I discovered premium chocolate, and there began my obsession with chocolate and its mother, the cacao bean. I became so obsessed with cacao and chocolate that I trained in France and traveled around France and Brussels.  Upon my return, I started a small business handcrafting confections with premium chocolate and ingredients - all without preservatives," she said. "Since I started working with chocolate in 2011, I've dreamt about experiencing first-hand how cacao is grown and harvested and how the cacao bean is transformed into chocolate."

Now Satiani has started a fundraising campaign to make that dream a reality. Via Indie GoGo, she aims to raise funds for a trip to Belize, where she hopes to follow cacao's journey all the way from the farm. 

"I'll spend time with local cacao farmers as well as Mayan families and local chocolate-makers who will demonstrate how cacao is transformed after harvest. I'll see first-hand how the beans are fermented, roasted, etc., all the way through the final stage where chocolate is made," she said. "This trip to Belize's cacao farms will also allow me to share with you the origins of cacao, how it's grown and how it's taken from bean to chocolate."

Satiani currently operates her own business, where she makes a wide variety of chocolate-based confections. Some of those, such as dark chocolate Fleur de Sel Caramels, are available as gifts to supporters of her campaign. 

More information in Satiani is also available at her blog

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