The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also indulged their love of chocolate as they explored the Caribbean country.
20 March 2022
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge danced “like nobody’s business” to the delight of Belize crowds and indulged their love of chocolate as they explored the Caribbean country.
Kate was first to move to the beat when the couple were treated to a welcome dance as they toured a village and was soon followed by a shimmying William.
Local organiser Laura Cacho, 57, who danced with the future king, said about the couple: “They were shaking their waists like nobody’s business.”
Earlier, the Cambridges were in chocoholic heaven sampling products made at the Che ‘il cocoa farm in Maya Centre village – but had to work for their sweet treats grinding chocolate nibs.
The tour of the farm was a hastily organised replacement event after residents from another village protested when they learnt about a proposed royal trip to their local family-run cocoa producer.
They cited a range of issues including objecting to the landing site of the Cambridges’ helicopter.
The duchess, who wore a blue summer dress, was the first on the makeshift dancefloor, joining nine local school children at the Garifuna Cultural Centre in the picturesque beach-front village of Hopkins.
Her husband watched as she stole the show before he was tempted to join the performance dancing with Ms Cacho.
She said afterwards: “He shook his waist to the music. He had beautiful rhythm. It was a pleasure for me.
“Kate was excellent as well and definitely has Garifuna culture in her.”
The couple’s introduction to local culture also saw them offered plantain coconut broth, Hudutu, and a sweet sava porridge called Sahau with Belizian celebrity chef Sean Kuylen.
At the nearby Che ‘il chocolate farm shop Kate tried her hand at grinding nibs, broken-up cocoa beans, back-breaking work traditionally performed by the women in rural communities.
As William watched, he quipped “That’s the way you burn off calories before (you) eat the chocolate.”
Later when he tried pounding away with a mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock his wife said: “The smell of the chocolate is amazing.”
The duke even joked about giving up his day job as a working royal, asking Julio Saqui, owner of the family-run chocolate firm: “Do you take apprentices?
“Can I come and work for you? It’s my kind of thing.”
The couple’s eyes lit up when they saw chocolate fountains, dipping tortilla chips into the brown sticky liquid, and they tried hot chocolate made from organic products with Kate confessing: “I think our children will be very jealous.”
The Saqui family are from Belize’s Maya community where the cocoa bean is revered and has been an integral part of their culture for thousands of years.
It was served to royalty in centuries past and at one point was worth more than gold to the Maya people who still serve it to special guests.
The couple began their tour of the chocolate production at the firm’s 10-acre farm, one of a number of plots they cultivate, and were shown the cocoa trees laden with fruit, with Kate asking Narcisio Saqui, brother of Julio: “Do you harvest them all year round?”
Narcisio took the couple out of the blistering sun and sat them down under a marquee and told them about the anti-oxidants and other important properties of cocoa and the duke exclaimed: “Are you saying chocolate is good for us?”
Speaking about the importance of the bean, he added: “It became currency in those days and was traded as cash, worth more than gold.”
When he took a club and broke open a cocoa pod, filled with white gooey seeds which need to be fermented, dried, roasted and ground to make chocolate, William looked surprised and said: “That’s not what I expected at all.”