Back to Newsletter

 
   
   

 

Grenada Chocolate Update

Since we last reported, the Grenada Chocolate Co-operative has been developing and improving, especially with new products - 80%, 100%,  Nib-a-licious and now Salt-i-licious. We now distribute the Grenada range throughout the whole of Europe and have shipped even further - recently to the Far East!

Out in Grenada, there have been some significant changes with investment in a newly dedicated bean processing facility at the Belmont Estate - www.belmontestate.net which is a major tourist 'must' whilst on the island. The Chocolate Factory is located just 1 mile up the road in the next village of Hermitage.

Until recently, Grenada Chocolate's organic beans were harvested from the Organically Certified farms within the Co-operative and fermented and dried at one of the farms under contract. However, this was always intended to be a short term arrangement and towards the end of 2011, Belmont Estate decided to switch their existing Cocoa facility to be exclusively for Grenada Chocolate (Well actually I think Mott's persuasive skills were a huge factor!). Formerly, Belmont acted as a Cocoa Station for Conventional Beans for the Government and run by the Grenada Cocoa Association. However, since the Belmont Estate now grows Organic Beans and is a founder farmer member of the Organic Cocoa Co-operative, this was a logical step for them.

So the beans are taken in from the Organic Farms and immediately weighed, recorded and tipped into the Fermentation boxes, which are then covered over with sacking and banana leaves. The beans generate a lot of heat during the natural fermentation and need to be turned over and mixed to ensure an even fermentation throughout the batch of beans. After fermentation, the still wet beans are transferred to the drying trays where they are spread out and sun dried for another few days. Again, the beans need to be regularly turned over to ensure even drying and this is done in the same way as it has for hundreds of years- clearly not a job for anyone that picks their feet up!

As a result, Grenada Chocolate have invested in building a new storage warehouse for the Organic Beans at Belmont. Note that each sack is labelled with the Batch number, so there is full traceability right the way back through the drying and fermentation process to the Organic Farm. Mott is pioneering a new drying method for the fermented beans, as the traditional drying method is that the beans are spread out on to solid platforms made from concrete or sometimes lined with metal sheeting. At night, and when it starts to rain, each platform can either be slid under cover - or alternatively a corrugated iron roof is slid over the platform to keep the beans dry from rain or dew. Obviously, any moisture on the drying beans can cause mould formation and thus the quality deteriorates. This new  method is used in the Dominican Republic and other more developed cocoa growing countries and improves the drying time, reducing the risk of spoilage due to moulds, moisture etc. As you can see in the image below, effectively this is a wooden framed 'greenhouse' made with poly carbonate sheeting. Inside this, raised platforms are being built with perforated metal sheeting. The sides of the building are open up to about 18 inches and the roof is overlapped at the ridge, which causes the air convection up through the beans and takes away the moisture through the vented overlap. The 'old' method only works if there is a very thin layer of beans spread out as the moisture evaporates from direct heat from the sun, so the new method allows for a thicker layer of beans per square foot on every platform as the air passes up through the beans from below. Also in the picture, you can clearly see an old style platform drier on rails which is slid under cover.

This new method is more efficient in that drying happens night and day no matter what the weather is doing and you dry more beans per square foot.

Overlooking the drying area is the Grenada Bon Bon shop, where Mott's two Chocolatiers (locals that have been trained) are making and selling a great range of finished bars and chocolates to Tourists and locals alike..

Our hire car broke down conveniently at the Government Carlton Cocoa Station. There are a few Cocoa Stations located throughout the centre and north of the island where farmers bring in their conventional beans, generally in buckets and other containers. They always split the pods on the farms. These are weighed in and the farmer paid EC$1.40/lb - which is about 33p or .73p/kilo. - Grenada Choc pay EC$2 per lb for Organic beans from the Co-operative farmers - about 48p/lb or £1.05/kilo, so about 45% higher! Remember these prices are for wet beans and pulp before fermentation and drying.

The farmers generally go to the stations weekly, but each station is open on different days. Growing cocoa is not exactly a 'get rich quick' scheme and generally in Grenada, working in agriculture has sort of been stigmatised in recent years. See Carlton's conventional drying after fermentation and the dried beans are loaded ready to be sold and exported to the likes of Barry Callebaut and Belcolade etc who make their Grenadian origin Chocolates.

 

 

The soil, cocoa tree types and climate give
Grenada beans, both organic and conventional,
fantastic fruity cocoa flavour that is highly regarded
throughout the industry.

 

 

 

Click here to read an article about the Grenada Chocolate Company that appears in the Waitrose Kitchen magazine.

Sustainably Produced, Sustainably Transported

The Grenada Chocolate Company are enhancing their green credentials by transporting their chocolate to the USA and UK this spring aboard the cargo sailing Brigantine Tres Hombre.

This 32 metre engineless schooner will be leaving Grenada on March 13th to begin a more than 60 day voyage to New York and then Portsmouth via the Azores. She will be carrying over 8 tonnes of chocolate in a special solar powered temperature controlled compartment.

Mott Green, the founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company will be making the journey aboard Tres Hombre, keeping a check on his precious cargo.

Keep track of her journey on our website, where we will have a map showing her progress.

   
         
     
     
   

HB Ingredients
Cocoa House, 15, The Cliffe Industrial Estate, Lewes, East Sussex. BN8 6JL.
Sales order hot-line:+44(0)844 32 44 499
Enquiries:+44(0)845 88 00 799 Fax:+44(0)845 88 00 833