Grenadian chocolate diary – it’s good to be back

James, Rococo’s chairman, has just arrived in Grenada for a month. He has gone to help the Grenada Chocolate Company with the organic certification process and business plan for the coming years following the sad death of founder Mott Green last year,  and will be in Grenada for the harvest of cocoa beans from our own farm that will go into our next batch of Grand Cru single estate Grococo bars (the first batch has sold out online, but you may be able to get one in our shops).

This is James’ diary:

 

Day 1

The stresses, boredom  and jetlag of the London – Grenada flight (hardly alleviated by a read of the Grenada Dept of Co-operatives Bye-Laws!) always evaporate on arrival as you take in the lush mountains of the West Grenadian coast on the way up the island.

The view from the Grenada Chocolate Company over the rolling hills and cocoa trees. The louvred glass windows allow the mountain breezes to cool the building

The view from the Grenada Chocolate Company over the rolling hills and cocoa trees. The louvred glass windows allow the mountain breezes to cool the building

It’s been a long journey but the process of decompression is speeded up by one of Miss Annie’s rum punches on arrival and the usual warm welcome from Philip and the rest of the team at Petit Anse.

A view of James's occasional office and the view over the Caribbean from Petit Anse

James’s occasional office and the view over the Caribbean from Petit Anse

 

Day 2

Up with the Grenadian lark, I catch up on Rococo’s working week, then it’s a 20 minute ride down to the chocolate factory with Annie and time to hook up again with Edmond (Mott’s co-founder at the Grenada Chocolate Company) and the great team in the chocolate factory.

Kimon Selmi operator

Kimon tempering chocolate

At the factory I realise I have forgotten how wonderful the smell of fine cocoa being processed is.

2014 new seasons cocoa

The first cocoa of the 2014 season, ready to be made into chocolate

Production is in full swing at the factory with orders going out this week to Rococo (via HB Ingredients) and a large order for Holland and Europe being prepared for shipment on the Tres Hombres fair transport brig at the end of the month.

Tres Hombres leaving Grenada in 2012

Tres Hombres leaving Grenada in 2012

At mid-afternoon I leave with Kaciann, the GCC’s co-operatives and organic certification guru, to go to a meeting of the organic cocoa co-operative in nearby Grenville (one of the main towns and fishing ports) on the west coast of the island. The meeting is hosted by Shadel Nyack Compton, who is both a lawyer and owner of Belmont Estate where the bulk of the GCC’s organic cocoa is grown and processed.

We’re here to discuss the bye-laws of the co-operative, of which the Grococo farm forms a 10 acre part. A diverse range of attendees is there with Shadel in the chair; Mr Langaigne from the Grenada Co-operative Dept; Miss Lewis, salt of the earth local farmer; Dr Coi, a St Georges hospital doctor with two farms; and Mr Samuels, who sits quietly throughout. Kaciann has been Rococo’s proxy when we haven’t been able to attend in person and it’s great for me to be able to be there too, even if the subject is a little dry!

Kaciann, a woman of many talents, wrapping chocolate

Kaciann, a woman of many talents, wrapping chocolate

Tired after a long day, we have a somewhat hair-raising drive back to base in the GCC’s no. 2 vehicle, whose lights could do with extra voltage… Fortunately we make it home safely, lit by a full moon over the water.

full moon on caribbean

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