It's easy to perceive Ilhéus, on Bahia's Cocoa Coast, as a land of recovery and promise when one enters the gates of Fazenda Provisão. The lush farm with an area of nearly 988 acres on the banks of the Almada River is an active cocoa producer and a symbol of resilience in a region where a massive witch's broom infestation in 1989 devastated a culture which had thrived since the late 18th century.
While some enterprises in Ilhéus and nearby towns focus on the production and processing of sustainable cacau cabruca - cocoa grown under the canopy of native Atlantic rainforest - other farms, like Provisão, though maintaining some production, have turned to tourism as a source of revenue.
Such farms play an important role in Bahia's budding Chocolate Route, whose attractions include an incredibly beautiful string of beaches, charming places to stay, from upscale resorts to affordable pousadas, great culinary and historic landmarks. For many travelers, there's the added appeal of Jorge Amado literature, strongly rooted in his native region and known worldwide for works such as Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon.
Fazenda Provisão has always belonged to the family of patriarch Domingos Adami de Sá, who started the farm in 1885 and was the first to grow cocoa on its lands. The hospitality of his descendant Albino Eduardo Novaes and his wife, Maria Adelina, is one of the reasons to visit, whether on day use or overnight stays.
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- Also in Ilhéus: Fazenda Almada