Until today, I didn’t know that Grenada made its own chocolate. I knew about all the spices but I had no idea that there were multiple chocolate manufacturers on the island. However, today we went on a tour of the island and saw not one, but two. The first chocolate factory was the Diamond Chocolate Factory.
This gem is built on a former plantation and uses locally sourced cocoa for production. Any local farmers who produce cocoa bring the cocoa to the factory. Thus, the chocolate here cannot be classified as certified organic because they allow any farmer to bring cocoa to the factory. At this factory, we were able to see the steps going into making the chocolate, such as sorting the cocoa seeds to ensure uniformity, drying the cocoa on outside beds and manufacturing and refining the cocoa. Pro tip: 60% cocoa in chocolate means that the other 40% is sugar! I had no idea!
After this, we went to the Grenada Chocolate Company, which was also built on a former plantation. Here the focus is on organic chocolate and only the organic farmers’ cocoa is used. Both chocolates have different tastes or quirks about them. For instance, the Diamond Chocolate Factory had flavors like ginger and nutmeg in their 60% chocolate, while the Grenada Chocolate Company focused more on organic dark chocolate and had a chocolate with added sea salt. Interestingly, they both had chocolate made of cocoa nibs, which are the dried bits of the cocoa beans after being dried.
Overall, this experience taught me the importance of understanding a community, through its culture and history. In addition to going to chocolate factories, we drove around the island, learned about Kick ‘em Jenny, the effects of Hurricane Ivan and the politics around the good and bad in Grenada. I think this is a truly important step when engaging with a new community because as an outsider, you can have a romanticized view of this new space, especially when it comes to white sand beaches of the Caribbean. However, by going on a cultural tour of a country, you gain a more nuanced appreciation for this new space you’ve entered.