As detailed in my post Grenada Pt4 – Chocolate, Rum, Waterfalls and why I shouldnt get married, during my time on Grenada and whilst the rain was keeping us from getting scorched in the heat, team Francis and I took a trip to see how Grenada makes it scrummy chocolate goodness.  The place to go to see this was the Belmont Estate, located in Belmont in the north east of the island.  We took a tour which at just $10 XCD (£2.50 ish) each was a bargain.  As a part of the tour and when we werent scoffing down samples, we were tought the processed by which the chocolate is made.  Here is a brief overview of that process and a couple of pics to boot.

The Belmont Estate, Grenada

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Stage 1- Harvesting

Cocoa is harvested by sniping the colourful oval shaped pods off the trees using mitten-shaped knives (called cocoa knives). The pods are heaped into piles, then cracked with a cutlass or machete and the white beans (seeds) are removed and placed into buckets or bags for transportation to the fermentation point.

Stage 2- Sorting and fermentation

There the beans are placed into a sifter where excess water is drained out and debris (leaves, stones, broken pods etc.,) are removed. The beans are then weighed and placed in large wooden bins (fermenting boxes), covered with banana leaves and jute bags. The beans remain in boxes for 7-8 days during which time fermentation takes place. During fermentation the white substance covering the beans, disappears; the beans turn a rich shade of brown and flavour develops. The beans are turned from one box into another every two days to allow an even distribution of the heat that is produced during fermentation.

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Stage 3 – Airing

Once fermented the beans are placed outside to dry in the sun on big wooden trays, for six to seven days. During that period workers walk through the beans (like Ryan below) to allow air to flow evenly through the beans, to aid with the drying.

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Stage 4 – Polish

The beans then go through a cosmetic process called polishing. Traditionally, beans were polishing by dancing on them in large copper pots. Polishing removes any dried pulp residue on the seed, and gives the bean a smooth, polished look. Polishing is done by commercial polishers.

Stage 5, 6 and 7

Package (by hand), sell, eat!  nom nom nom.

Grenada, Belmont Estate, Cocoa Plantation, chocolate

Belmont Cocoa Plantation, Grenada

Belmont Estate has forged a strategic alliance with the The Grenada Chocolate Company, to make the world’s finest dark organic chocolate. The Grenada Chocolate Company and Belmont Estate are a members of the Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd., that grow organic cocoa to make the product. The co-operative consists of about twelve farmers that have received organic certification through the German certifying company Ceres.

Wording for the above is sourced from http://www.belmontestate(dot)net

Grenada Index

Want to know what happens next? Want to cheat and skip to the end? Do you just want to look at pretty pictures of Grenada rather than read about how many beers I drank. Well here you go then, here are all the links to all my Grenada posts, all of them. You dont ask for much do you!?

(They’ll turn red when they’re live)

Part 1 – Welcome to Grenada
Part 2 – Lance Aux Epines
Part 3 – Valentines in Carriacou
Part 4 – Chocolate, Rum and Waterfalls
Photo Essay: Belmont Cocoa Plantation
Photo Essay: Seven Sisters Waterfall