The sovereign state of Grenada in the West Indies is known as the “Spice Isle” and one of the main reasons why it was sought after territory during the European’s Age of Exploration. This island chain of the Caribbean Sea is rich in spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric, pimento, and bay leaves. In the spice trade, the state’s export of nutmeg alone accounts for a quarter of Grenada’s exports. Another important export from Grenada is its cacao. Although the cacao exported by Grenada only totals 3.8% of the state’s total export, Grenadian cacao is sought after as it is numbered as one of the finest in the world by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). Grenada’s landscape is ideal in growing cacao plants – from the naturally fertile soil to the unique flavors absorbed by the plant generated from the nearby trees. This is the reason why Grenadian chocolate is identified and prized for its spicy, fruity flavors and a pleasant aroma.
The History of Cacao in Grenada
The story of Grenadian chocolate began with the coming of the Spanish in the Caribbean where they brought from Valenzuela a criollo variety of the cacao plant in the 1500s. However, the cacao trees that are grown all throughout the island at present were brought to Grenada by French settlers in 1714. Since the geography and climate were suitable, the cacao trees prospered. By the 1760s, when the territory was ceded to the British, Grenada was known throughout Europe as the leading expert in cocoa exports and supplies almost half of the cocoa products shipped to Britain.
Two hundred years of cocoa production led to the founding of the Grenada Cocoa Association in 1964. The association managed and organized cocoa production and export in the state. They also bought cacao crops at a fixed price. However, a fairer cacao trade was established in Grenada through Doug and Edmond Brown who founded the first chocolate manufacturing company in Grenada in 1999. They helped farmers gain increased income by producing chocolate from tree-to-bar using the local cacao harvest. This also started the tree-to-bar alternative in Grenada.
Best Tree-to-Bar Chocolate Companies in Grenada
At present, there are already several tree-to-bar companies that not only created delicious cacao products but also aided farmers in making a more reasonable profit. One of these is Crayfish Bay Chocolate which was founded a decade ago by Lylette and Kim Russel. They renovated a hurricane-ravaged old cocoa estate in Victoria and manufactured delicious organic chocolate bars in their Crayfish Bay plantation. Their work is sold by Pump Street Bakery in the United Kingdom. Belmont Estate Chocolate is one of the oldest in the chocolate-making business in Grenada with origins dating back to the late 1600s. Before the state of Grenada was ravaged by the 2004 hurricane Ivan; mace and nutmeg were the estate’s main crops but was afterward replaced by chocolate. They offer several varieties of their craft chocolate such as white chocolate, dark or milk as well as cocoa tea and cocoa balls. The Grenada Chocolate Company was the company founded by the Browns in 1999. It is still operational and created organic cocoa products in its 200 acres of cocoa farms. Their chocolate is exported worldwide. Some favorite varieties include the Nib-A-Licious bars and the Salty-Licious.