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Grenada Chocolate Festival 2016

Grenada Chocolate Festival 2016

 

In May 2016, I was fortunate enough to visit the beautiful island of Grenada for the chocolate festival as a result of winning The Great British Spiced Chocolate Challenge.  The chocolate festival was amazing. There was a full program of events, which included a wide range of activities from visiting bean to bar producers, chocolate cooking classes and visiting a local brewery which uses chocolate in their beer. We also visited two cocoa plantations, Crayfish Bay and Belmont Estate, where I was able to see first hand where chocolate comes from.

Pods on the cocoa tree.

Pods on the cocoa tree.

Cocoa pods being harvested. 

Cocoa pods being harvested. 

Cocoa pods freshly harvested from Belmont Estate. The green pods turn yellow when ripe and the red pods turn orange.

Cocoa pods freshly harvested from Belmont Estate. The green pods turn yellow when ripe and the red pods turn orange.

 
A fresh cocoa pod from Crayfish Bay cut open to reveal the cocoa beans covered in white pulp. The pulp can be eaten at this stage and tastes delicious and fruity, like lychees.

A fresh cocoa pod from Crayfish Bay cut open to reveal the cocoa beans covered in white pulp. The pulp can be eaten at this stage and tastes delicious and fruity, like lychees.

The beans are scooped out of the pods and put in large wooden boxes. These beans are left to ferment for around 7 days.

The beans are scooped out of the pods and put in large wooden boxes. These beans are left to ferment for around 7 days.

 
A fresh cocoa bean cut open.

A fresh cocoa bean cut open.

 
A cocoa bean cut open after fermenting for 7 days.

A cocoa bean cut open after fermenting for 7 days.

 
The fermented cocoa beans are left to dry in the sun for a week. The beans on the left had just been put out after fermentation. The beans on the right had been drying for 7 days. This photo was taken at Belmont Estate.

The fermented cocoa beans are left to dry in the sun for a week. The beans on the left had just been put out after fermentation. The beans on the right had been drying for 7 days. This photo was taken at Belmont Estate.

 
Walking the cocoa. Whilst drying, the cocoa beans are walked on. This created ridges in the layer of beans which maximises drying.

Walking the cocoa. Whilst drying, the cocoa beans are walked on. This created ridges in the layer of beans which maximises drying.

Dried cocoa beans.

Dried cocoa beans.

 
A half peeled cocoa bean after being dried for a week. This bean has finished drying as its moisture content is now down to 6-7%. The cocoa farmers can tell when the beans are ready by the sound they make when dropped. These beans are then bagged up and sent to the chocolate makers. The shells are removed as part of the bean to bar process.

A half peeled cocoa bean after being dried for a week. This bean has finished drying as its moisture content is now down to 6-7%. The cocoa farmers can tell when the beans are ready by the sound they make when dropped. These beans are then bagged up and sent to the chocolate makers. The shells are removed as part of the bean to bar process.

 
Me harvesting cocoa pods at Crayfish Bay. Excuse the mosquito bites on my face.

Me harvesting cocoa pods at Crayfish Bay. Excuse the mosquito bites on my face.

While in Grenada, I was able to talk to some school children about being a chocolatier and how to make chocolates.

While in Grenada, I was able to talk to some school children about being a chocolatier and how to make chocolates.

Cocoa pods, beans and the final chocolate bar (tree to bar).

Cocoa pods, beans and the final chocolate bar (tree to bar).

Thank you to Arthur Daniel for allowing me to use some of your amazing photos taken during my trip. Thank you also to True Blue Bay Resort and Pure Grenada for organising such a fantastic trip.