Monday, November 28, 2011

The Grenadian Chocolate Factory

Fresh cocoa beans in the raw.
Who doesn't love chocolate?

Grenada actually produces some of the finest organic dark chocolate in the world and while my brother was here, we decided to go right to the source.  The Belmont Estate here in Grenada is a working 17th century plantation that grows everything from fruit to spices and, of course, cocoa.  They have formed an alliance with the Grenada Chocolate Company and provide them with the cocoa beans for their famous product.

We got a little tour of how chocolate is made "from tree to bar".   Cocoa beans are harvested from the pods of the cocoa tree.  The pods are then split open and the seeds inside (the cocoa beans) are removed and left to ferment in large piles covered with banana tree leaves for about a week.  The beans are then set out in the sun to dry for another week or so.  From their, the dried beans are sent to the chocolate factory (sorry, no Charlie here) where they are roasted then ground and mixed with sugar and cocoa butter and formed into the chocolate bars we all know and love.

We got to sample some of the fine chocolate as well as taste some of the delicious organic hot cocoa.  It's such a treat to eat foods with such simple ingredients; no hydrogenated soy bean oil, monosodium glutamate, or high fructose corn syrup here.  Nope, just cocoa, sugar and natural oil.  Organic and healthy, just the way nature intended!

Cocoa beans drying
All natural hot cocoa.  Delicious!
Brittany & Scott

Fun Fact:  Dark chocolate is actually good for pregnant women and some studies show it might make for a happier baby.  Looks like I'm in the right place and I'll definitely be indulging in a little square here and there!

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