Visiting A Grenada Chocolate Factory: From Tree to Bar
Before visiting Grenada I thought I knew what good chocolate was. But after visiting a Grenada chocolate factory I found out what good quality chocolate is and what it takes to make it.
Grenada is a tiny island nation in the Caribbean that is covered in green jungle and lush mountains – a perfect place for high-quality cocoa to grow. As a result, Grenada makes delicious chocolate! 🤤
Visiting a Grenada Chocolate factory is an awesome way to learn how real-quality chocolate is made. While also getting some tasty free samples along the way.
How many Chocolate Factories are in Grenada?
There are 6 tree-to-bar chocolate factories in Grenada. The population of Grenada is only 125,000 which means Grenada has the most chocolate factories per capita in the world! 🌎
All of the factories in Grenada are small-scale factories that make delicious craft chocolate. Because of that, you can really taste the different subtle flavors from all the different factories.
The 6 chocolate factories in Grenada are:
1. Grenada Chocolate Company
2. Jouvay Chocolate Grenada
3. Crayfish Bay Chocolate
4. Belmont Estate
5. Tri-Island Chocolate
6. Taste ‘D’ Spice Factory
Interesting Grenada Chocolate History
Cocoa has been grown in Grenada since 1714. But it was only recently that chocolate was actually made in Grenada!
All the cocoa that was produced in Grenada was exported overseas. But in 1999 an American expat named Mott Green decided to start making chocolate in Grenada.
Mott Green had spent many months of his childhood in Grenada while his dad worked at a local hospital. As an adult, he returned to Grenada and was living by himself in a hut in the jungle.
While there he realized that local farmers could make more money if their cocoa was processed directly into chocolate on the island 🏝️
So he created the Grenada Chocolate Company which made high-quality chocolate while paying local farmers fairly.
After the success of the Grenada Chocolate Company, several other factories were created so there are now 6 on the island.
Unfortunately, Mott Green was killed while working on a solar generator in Grenada in 2013. If you would like to read more about him there is a good article by the New York Times here.
Mass Produced vs Craft Chocolate
After tasting the chocolates at a Grenada chocolate factory you start to realise how different it is to the mass-produced chocolate that you have eaten most of your life.
One of the biggest differences between mass-produced chocolate and craft chocolate is how they roast their beans.
Craft chocolate makers hand-pick their beans so that they have the same-sized beans together. This is important because if you roast large beans with small beans then the small ones will burn before the larger ones are done 🔥
To avoid this problem of sorting beans mass-produced chocolate makers overroast all their beans. This means that it has a much more bitter flavor.
The main reason they do this is to make sure they have generic-tasting beans that taste the same every time. They then cover up the bitter taste with a combination of milk, sugar, vanilla, and other flavors.
Because the chocolate makers of Grenada do not overroast their beans it means you can really taste the subtle flavors of the beans used. It also means that no batch of chocolate will ever taste the same because the flavor depends on the harvest that season 🌳
If you have ever tried 100% mass-produced chocolate it has an incredibly bitter taste. But if you try 100% chocolate from any of a Grenada chocolate factory it is much smoother and full of flavour.
Ethical Business Practices
Another big benefit of buying chocolate from craft chocolate makers is that the business practices are much more ethical. Unfortunately, there is a lot of child labor used in worldwide cocoa production.
Many cocoa farmers are also forced by major corporations to sell their cocoa to them at very low prices which those corporations use to make huge profits 💰
But luckily all the chocolate in Grenada is sourced from local farmers who are paid a fair price. So not only does the chocolate here taste much better but it is also much more ethically made.
Grenadian Chocolate Flavor
Grenada is known as the spice island because there are nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves, and many other spices grown all over the island.
This is a big benefit to the flavor of cocoa in Grenada as the trees will soak up the flavors of plants around them. Therefore cocoa beans in Grenada have a richer flavor than in other parts of the world.
Another positive factor is that the beans are fresh when they are processed in Grenada. Major chocolate companies such as Lindt ship their cocoa halfway around the world to make their chocolate.
This means that by the time they start making their chocolate, the beans may be months old. Which means much of the natural flavor will be lost.
The climate in Grenada is also perfect for growing cocoa with the right amount of sunshine and water. All of these factors mean that Grenada produces some of the highest-quality chocolate in the world.
How is Chocolate made?
Billions of people eat chocolate every day all around the world. But very few people ever think about how exactly it is made.
As with everything it is much more complicated than you would think. Especially making artisan chocolate like they do in Grenada takes a lot of skill.
But the first step is to always get good beans which Grenada has plenty of.
1. Harvesting the Cacao Pods
The first step is to harvest the colorful cacao pods from the trees. The farmers need to be skilled to pick the pods with exactly the right level of ripeness to have the best flavor.
2. Fermenting the Cacao Beans
Once the pods have been collected the pods are broken open and the beans inside are collected. The beans are initially covered in a white sweet pulp when they are broken open.
The slimy beans are then placed in boxes and fermented with the pulp on for around a week. This part of the process helps to develop the flavor of the beans and also removes the pulp from the bean.
3. Drying the Cacao Beans
Once the beans have been fermented for around a week they have a lot of moisture in them. So they are dried in the sun for several days ☀️
At many of the chocolate factories in Grenada, you will see the beans drying on large trays with wheels underneath. These trays can be rolled underneath the cover when it rains.
The beans also have to be rotated to make sure that they are evenly dried. In Grenada, this was traditionally done by walking through them.
4. Roasting the Cacao Beans
Once the beans have been dried they need to be roasted. This is a crucial step in developing the flavor of the beans.
How long the beans need to be roasted depends on the size and type of beans. Large chocolate companies generally do not sort out their beans so end up over-roasting them to obtain a generic flavor that never changes.
In Grenada, the beans are hand sorted so that they can be roasted to the perfect level. This ensures that every batch of chocolate has a unique flavor to the season in which the beans were grown.
5. Winnowing the Cacao Beans
After roasting the outer shell of the beans needs to be removed. Inside the outer shell is the cacao nibs which you may have tried before.
Most of the cacao nibs around the world are over-roasted just like most chocolate. But if you buy some cacao nibs from Grenada the flavor is awesome. They are much less bitter than cacao nibs I have tried in other parts of the world.
6. Grinding the Cacao Nibs
With the outer shells removed the cacao nibs are then gathered and ground into a fine paste called cacao liquor. The nibs are ground for a very long time to obtain a super smooth liquor.
Some factories will grind their beans for days to obtain super smooth chocolate. At this point, sugar, milk, and other ingredients may be added for flavor.
7. Tempering the Chocolate
In order to get chocolate with a nice shiny texture it must be tempered. This process involves raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate. If this is not done the chocolate will be crumbling.
8. Molding the Chocolate
The final step in the chocolate-making process is to pour it into molds and then it is done! Most chocolate factories have unique molds with different shapes of pieces and their logo.
The Chocolate Factories of Grenada
There are 6 chocolate factories in Grenada, most of them with a great piece of history. You can visit almost all of them and go on a tour to see how chocolate is made. The best part: Samples! 🍫
1. Belmont Estate
Belmont Estate is a beautiful old plantation that was established in the 1700s. It was originally a sugar cane plantation but today the estate focuses on agri-tourism to make money.
They do this by producing a range of organic produce such as spices and they also have a goat dairy and restaurant on site you can visit.
The Belmont Estate Grenada Chocolate Factory was established in 2017 and is one of the best chocolate factories in Grenada.
I particularly liked Belmont Estates chocolates as they have interesting flavors such as oil down, which is Grenada’s national dish.
They also sell a great range of cocoa-related products such as cocoa nibs, cocoa soaps, and chocolate pralines (a must-try!) in their store.
Belmont Estate offers a 45-min tour for 16 EC (6 USD) that will guide you through the chocolate-making process. You can book it in advance or just show up what we did.
🍫 Book a tour in advance
🚗 Book a tour with a driver
📍Pin Belmont on your map
The tour will give you an overview of the produce grown in Grenada and at Belmont Estate. We really liked the tour and definitely recommend doing it. Samples included!
Belmont Estate grounds are also beautiful and it is nice to wander around. There is also a restaurant on site but it doesn’t have the best reviews. So maybe only eat there if you are really hungry!
2. Jouvay Chocolate Grenada
Jouvay Chocolate Grenada is another well-known chocolate company in Grenada. They make their chocolate in the Diamond Chocolate Factory in Victoria, Grenada.
The factory is located inside an old rum distillery so has a similar vibe to Belmont Estate. But Jouvay does not produce any other goods, they just focus on chocolate.
They offer a 20-min tour for free of their facilities that will educate you on the chocolate-making process. You can book it in advance or just show up what we did.
🍫 Book a tour in advance
🚗 Book a tour with a driver
📍Pin Jouvay on your map
But a visit to Jouvay is still well worth it even without a tour. The drive to Victoria along the west coast is beautiful and in my opinion, is the most beautiful drive in Grenada.
Jouay also makes chocolates with local spices such as nutmeg and ginger. Plus there are always lots of free samples for you to try!
3. Tri-Island Chocolate
Tris-Island Chocolate is a newcomer to the Grenada Chocolate Factory scene. It was started by a Grenadian living in England who was gifted land in Grenada by his grandparents.
This land is good for growing cocoa. So he decided to move back to Grenada and open up a chocolate company.
When we came to Tri-Island the owner himself gave us a tour of the property. He was a really nice guy and his tour of the property was very interesting.
The actual chocolate-making area is very small but still very interesting to see how they make chocolate on such a small scale.
If you are looking for a free chocolate tour close to St George then Tri-Island is a great option as it is only a short drive away. Plus, you can book paid workshops too.
🍫 Book a tour + workshops
📍Pin Tri-Island on your map
4. Crayfish Bay Chocolate
Crayfish Bay Chocolate is a company that was established on an old cocoa plantation that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The land was taken over by Kim and Lylette a couple who are committed to creating the most ethical, organic chocolate possible.
To make the chocolate as ethical as possible 90% of all the money from the cocoa harvest goes to the farmers who picked it 👨🌾
Kim and Lylette also allow farmers to grow crops amongst the cocoa so that they can make money when it is not the cocoa season.
In other parts of Grenada when it is not cocoa season farmers simply make no money. So it is awesome how much Kim and Lylette truly care about their workers.
One thing we really liked about Crayfish Bay is that they make milk chocolate with coconut milk instead of cow milk.
This is awesome for vegans or people who are dairy intolerant or simply like really smooth chocolate. All their chocolates have a beautiful creamy flavor.
Crayfish Bay generally only does free tours if you book in advance. Samples included! They also have cottages on the property for rent and people really seemed to like staying there.
🍫 Book a tour in advance
🏠 Book a cottage on Airbnb
🤝 Volunteer on their farm
📍Pin Crayfish Bay on your map
Kim the owner is a super interesting guy so a trip out to Crayfish Bay is well worth it. Especially if you are interested in ethical business practices.
5. Grenada Chocolate Company
Grenada Chocolate Company started the chocolate business on the island in 1999 and makes some of the best chocolate in Grenada so make sure you try some.
They were the pioneer of the chocolate industry in Grenada. Without them, there is a high chance that none of the others would exist.
❌ Grenada Chocolate Company does not offer tours of their factory in 2023. Although that may change in the future as they seem to be moving locations.
But even if you cannot do a tour of their factory you should definitely try some of their chocolate. You can find their chocolate bars in most supermarkets around Grenada.
I recommend trying their 71% dark chocolate. It has a very rich flavor without bitterness that is perfect for dark chocolate lovers.
6. Taste ‘D’ Spice Chocolate Factory Grenada
Taste ‘D’ Spice is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Grenada. It specializes in milk and dark chocolates with a spicey twist such as ginger, and turmeric but also cashew nuts or pumpkin seeds.
You will also find herbal and spicey teas from Taste ‘D’ Spice in shops on the island or bags with organic spices that are used in the chocolate or teas.
❌ Taste ‘D’ Space does not offer tours of their factory at this point in time. We contacted them via Facebook and they replied ‘Hopefully in 2024’.
House of Chocolate Museum – sample them all!
The House of Chocolate Grenada is a great place to visit for chocolate lovers. It’s Grenada’s chocolate museum and you can get samples of chocolate from all of Grenada’s chocolate factories listed above.
Inside you can see a demonstration of how chocolate is made. There is also a shop where you can buy fresh hot chocolate and products from all of Grenada’s chocolate factories.
The House of Chocolate Grenada Museum is located in downtown St George. So if you do not have time to travel outside of St George this is a good spot to get an experience of Grenadan chocolate.
🍫 Tip: Just be aware that there is a markup on all chocolate products in the shop. You can get all chocolate products cheaper at each factory or in most supermarkets on the island.
Grenada Chocolate Factory Tour
If you do not want to drive while you are in Grenada then you can go on this highly-rated Full Day Tour with Chocolate and Rum Sampling for 80 USD per person.
This tour includes a tour of the capital St George, a visit to Concord Falls (one of the best waterfalls in Grenada) and you will visit the Jouvary Chocolate Factory.
You will finish up the day by visiting the River Antoine Rum distillery which is the oldest rum distillery in the Caribbean and we really enjoyed our visit there!
This tour will allow you to see a large portion of the island, and many of its attractions in one go. It will also take you through the Grand Etang National Park in the middle of the island.
Grenada Chocolate Festival
Grenada’s Chocolate Fest takes place every year in May for one week in different parts of the Caribbean island. It started in 2014 and highlights the craftmanship of Grenada’s chocolate.
Its main purpose is to educate tourists and locals about cocoa farming and tree-to-bar ethically produced chocolate. This event has helped to put Grenada in the international chocolate spotlight.
So if you happen to be in Grenada in May make sure to check out their schedule!
Have fun visiting a Grenada Chocolate Factory
When we came to Grenada we had no idea that it was home to so much good chocolate. But after 6 months in Grenada, we feel like we are chocolate experts!
This was surprising to us because we spent more than two years in Mexico and it is very difficult to find good chocolate there. Even though people have drank cocoa in Mexico for thousands of years.
But that is what is so great about traveling – you always find unexpected things in every country. And in Grenada, it has to be their amazing chocolate!
Let me know in the comments below if you visit a chocolate factory in Grenada and which one is your favorite.
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