Sampling Grenada Chocolate at the Belmont Estate in Grenada combined two of my passions: chocolate and sustainability. Well, and then there’s traveling of course. Belmont Estate is a 17th century plantation on the Spice Island Grenada and offers tours to their organic farm and cocoa processing facilities. My favorite part was the outlet for Grenada Chocolate and to learn more about the handcrafted tree to bar chocolate making process.
First oval shaped cocoa pods are harvested by cutting them of the trees. The pods are cracked with a machete so that the white seeds or beans can be removed to undergo a fermentation process. This takes place in large wooden bins covered with banana leaves and jute bags for about 7-8 days. During the fermentation process the cocoa beans turn into a rich shade of brown and their flavor develops. Next they are placed outside to dry in the sun on big wooden trays for another week. During the last two steps the beans are moved manually to allow for air circulation. In the end the beans are polished to remove any dried pulp residue. Since 2012 Belmont Estate and the Grenada Chocolate Factory formed a partnership where organic beans are purchased from local organically certified farmers. These organic beans are then fermented and dried at Belmont Estate. From there they go to the Grenada Chocolate Factory where they are turned into delicious Organic Dark Chocolate.
All Grenada Chocolate bars are CERES and USDA certified. They are made in small batches with machines powered by solar-electric energy. Other ingredients include organic cane sugar, organic vanilla beans and organic soy lecithin used as emulsifier. The charming design of the outside wrapper looks like local Caribbean art and is printed with vegetable based ink on recycled paper. Inside on the actual chocolate bar is a gorgeous stylized image of cacao at the center. During our chocolate tasting we sampled about 8-10 Bonbon Chocolates that combined the organic chocolate with the many fruits, nuts and spices of Grenada like nutmeg. It was probably the most amazing experience from my entire Grenada vacation.