The Organic Chocolate Project of Grenada - update
In the first Newsletter in March, we described the support we are giving to help develop and promote Organic Cocoa Production in Grenada.
Developments are going well, with the Labour team now in place headed by Ken together with the Pick-Up truck we purchased for the project.
The Labour team use the truck to get around on the farms where they harvest the beans, clear undergrowth and re-plant canopy trees (bananas etc). We have also funded a motorised weeder which has enabled the team to work more efficiently.
Tony & Kath again visited the Grenada Chocolate Factory and met up with Ken who was delivering some newly harvested Organic beans via the Grenada Cocoa Inspectorate at the Belmont Estate (more pictures and information on this in the next Newsletter) to be weighed and recorded prior to taking them to the nearby dedicated Organic Fermentary. Edmund, who is one of the founders of the Grenada Chocolate Company took time out to show us round the small factory high in the rainforest.
The factory is not open to the public as the building is not large and they have strict HACCP standards. They are also so busy now that it is impossible to entertain visits. Most of the equipment is either restored vintage equipment (note the open conches) as well as ‘home-made' such as the 20 tonne jack presses used to expel the Organic Cocoa Butter from the Cocoa Mass, which is sold locally on the Island. The remaining cocoa cake is milled down and run on the open conches (happening on the day we visited) to get it to a powder, which is then packed and also sold on the Island under the SMILO brand.
The beans, once fermented and dried are taken to the factory and are roasted in a converted coffee roaster and then shelled and winnowed in a very old piece of Spanish Cocoa equipment from the beginning of the 20th century, to separate the shell from the bean. Initially the beans & organic sugar are milled through a ball mill and conched through a newish McIntyre and then finished in the old open conches with the marble rollers. The finished chocolate is stored in a small liquid tank and then gravity-fed into a continuous temperer, where the moulds are dose-filled by hand, cooled and then wrapped & packed by hand. The bars are exported to the US and UK (buy at Rococo in London) and also sold locally on the island [In the supermarkets the price of the bars are 10 Eastern Caribbean Dollars each, or around £1-95]. The factory is now run using solar energy, which is supplemented by a new wind generated unit – the trade winds are fairly constant here!
Two recipes of Bitter Chocolate are made, a 60% and a 71% Cocoa solids, sold in 4oz (113g) tablets with distinct graphics. The flavour of the bars are fantastic – they have a unique flavour profile and this flavour matures & develops over time – taste is of course subjective, and in my opinion, the chocolate needs at least 4months from manufacture to get the best overall out of the unique Grenadan Organic Beans.
Tony Mycock – 4.6.08