Meet Lyra Spang, Itz'ana's chocolate expert! Lyra is a sociocultural anthropologist, passionate about culinary innovation and food studies. She is the author of a well-known book, Bite Yu Finga!, and the founder and tour guide at the popular Taste Belize Tours. Itz'ana Resort is proud to have Lyra as the instructor for our in-house Chocolate Workshop, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with her for upcoming events, such as our Nourishing & Healing Retreat coming up in July 2022.
Itz'ana's chocolate workshop was created for chocolate lovers who have travelled to the source of the Mayan world of cacao. With this workshop, guestsenjoy a journey into the extraordinary world of Mayan chocolate, delving into the cacao bean's history, cultivation, and preparation. In this sensory experience, we invite you to learn, create and sample one of history's finest foods. With Lyra as the instructor, guestssavor a wealth of knowledge and a depth of flavor as they explore a variety of flavor infusions. Lyra'sexpertise and passion is evident in everything she does, and this incredible hands-on experience is something not to be missed.
Lyra Spang's Background
Lyra was raised on an off-the-grid homesteadin southern Belize. She spent her childhood tendingorganic cacao trees along with her parents andbrother. Lyra's early days were spent fishing and hiking through the jungle, eating everything from freshly-picked cacao beans to wildcrabs. These early experiences gave way to an extraordinary path of culinary adventure, which eventually resulted in a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Food Studies from Indiana University.
In 2014, Lyrafounded Taste Belize Tours. Through her tours, Lyra shares her passion and enthusiasm for diverse foodways with travellers from near and far. Lyra is all about gastronationalism, and promotes the use of cuisine and food history to share national identity. Her food and culture-focused tours at Taste Belize Tours have been a tremendous success with tourists and locals alike, earninga Tripadvisor certificate of excellence each year since its start. Through these tours, Lyra engages travelers seeking a more immersive Belize experience and uses her role as a tour guide to challengethe Belizean tourism industry to embrace"creative, diverse, and inclusive cuisine that fairly represents the country".
Lyra isalso the author of an incredible book,titledBite Yu Finga!Through this book, Lyra challenges modern standards of fine dining, and invitesculinary explorers to venturefar beyond the restrictions ofWestern/European cuisine. Through this fascinating ethnography, Lyra explores national cuisine formation in Belize as ayoung post-colonial country. With years of data invested in this book, Lyra uses it toshare with readersthe vital roletourism can play in encouragingculinary innovation. She explores thepowerful influence of cultural politics, and the decisionprocess of whose food is regarded as authentically Belizean.