From May 13 – 22, one island in the Caribbean is going mad for chocolate. Almost exactly a year ago, I was lucky enough to be toasting my birthday, not with champagne, but with hot chocolate on Grenada, the Spice Island. They’re doing it all again this year:
(Can you spot me?)
Sadly I can’t be there as I am celebrating the fateful day in Rome, but I wanted to revisit my experience last year for any readers who might be heading to one of my favorite places on earth.
Anyone talking about Fine Chocolate goes on about “Bean to Bar” – the Grand Cru of chocolate. Most of the estates below go that one step further and can say with pride that the chocolate they produce is actually from “Seed to Bar.” All can be visited and, I think, it’s a great way to get to know Grenada. Traveling between the estates, you can see so much more of the island than sitting on the beach. Lots of free samples are bestowed upon guests, as well.
I learned the whole process of making chocolate here…roasting, winnowing, production, tempering – everything it takes to actually make a bar of chocolate. Diamond Chocolate Factory’s end product is called Jouvay. It’s the only bar in town that also that incorporates nutmeg, the island’s number one export, into the bar itself!
CRAYFISH BAY ORGANIC ESTATE
I fell in love with Kim Russell, the proprietor of Crayfish Bay, the minute we met. His passion for chocolate growing is infectious and, as he led us around the farm, I even had thoughts of leaving London and joining him. Maybe it was the way he broke open a cocoa pod with one swing of his scythe and plucked out one of the pieces for us to suck on.
Don’t be fooled by their seemingly modest equipment, the beans are sold to Grenada Chocolate Company and the world famous Pump Street Bakery in San Francisco. Their Grenada – Crayfish Bay 70% won International Chocolate Awards 2015 Double European Gold & World Silver as well as many others.
We were feted with a lunch of all things cocoa , from savory to sweet, after a lecture in the history of chocolate, but visitors to the Estate can also enjoy the same lunch we had while overlooking the plantation from their lovely veranda.
GRENADA CHOCOLATE FACTORY
The first time I tasted a bar from Grenada Chocolate Company was at Rococo, one of the finest chocolate shops in London. Its founder, Chantal Coady, delighted us with the story of how a bar of chocolate fell on her desk, then after one taste, it changed her life. She now owns property in Grenada and is active in its chocolate industry.
Tragically, the brainchild behind GCC, Mott Green, passed away in a freak accident a few years ago, but his legacy lives on in his chocolate, and the tiny factory produces some of the best fine chocolate in the world. You can try it for yourself in London at Rococo!
Those are just a few of the places you can visit while enjoying the Festival. One other delight is staying at True Blue Bay, a divine hotel owned by wonderful people.
Even if your favorite treat is a Hershey’s kiss, you will not be badly thought of, but this stuff is a whole other kettle of beans!
Have fun and don’t miss it if you can!
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Best Bits: Travel Cheat Sheet
NB: I was the guest of Pure Grenada and their hospitality was fantastic. I cannot thank them enough. Everything I write is, of course, my own opinion!