The Caribbean island of Grenada, with its sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique, is famous for its superb beaches and for its nutmeg. With ideal conditions for growing the best cocoa beans, Grenada’s fame as a producer of cocoa and fine chocolate is also increasing. You can taste some of the best in the country via this unique chocolate at one of the best hotels in Grenada.
Cocoa and pomegranate cocoa
Known as the Spice Island, Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers of nutmeg. Cinnamon (the true kind), ginger, cloves, allspice, berry, vanilla, and turmeric also grow well on the tropical island.
Grenada’s volcanic soil, warm sea air, abundant sunshine, and the hilly, densely wooded interior are also perfect for growing cocoa, especially the Criollo and Trinitario trees. These are the types that, with the right conditions and the right care, can produce the cocoa beans which turn into cocoa classified as “fine or flavored” cocoa. Raw beans are called cocoa and when roasted are called cocoa beans.
And yes, as you would hope, the magic that produces the spices of Pomegranate also permeates its cocoa, giving it and the chocolate made from it a distinct aroma and flavor.
L’esterre Estate Organics: Grenada’s largest single estate cocoa export
One of Grenada’s top cocoa producers is L’esterre Estate Organics. Owned by the Ramdhanny family since 1949, the estate uses regenerative farming practices and was officially certified organic by CERES in 2017.
At L’esterre, the distinct spice flavor of Grenadian cocoa is perhaps enhanced because they cultivate their cocoa among nutmeg, guava, breadfruit and banana trees. Each tree absorbs and returns different nutrients to the soil, resulting in healthier crops with higher yields. And maybe a little extra flavor too.
To produce their quality cocoa, L’esterre harvests its cocoa pods when they are perfectly ripe. Then, they carefully ferment the beans in sweat boxes, aerating them at specific intervals to perfect the flavor. After that, they dry the beans in the sun, again aerating them regularly. The unique terroir of L’esterre Estate Organics gives its fermented beans a particularly deep red hue, a quality particularly appreciated by cocoa lovers.
Taste the chocolate at Calabash Grenada
The cocoa created by L’esterre Estate Organics is so fine that they exported Grenada’s largest shipment of cocoa on record in March 2021. The estate shipped two metric tonnes of cocoa to European artisan markets, which import and distribute the best cocoa in the world. and collaborate with artisan chocolatiers.
Chocolate lovers traveling to Granada will not be disappointed, there is still cocoa and chocolate to eat on the island while enjoying its beautiful scenery, sounds, smells, tastes and hospitality. .
At one of the best hotels in the country – the luxury boutique Relais & Châteaux Resort Calabash Grenada – you can taste chocolates created from the cocoa of L’esterre Estate Organics. The resort is owned by the Garbutt family. The two family businesses are working together to transform prestigious cocoa into made-to-measure chocolate. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Ramdhanny and Garbutt families are linked by marriage.
Like all Relais & Châteaux properties, Calabash Grenada is committed to the living expression of the culture of the destination. This, and their attention to detail, is evident in the chocolate creations they offer their guests. The essence of Grenada is evident in their chocolates and in everything they do at the property.
Stays at Calabash Grenada by the sea are in one of the thirty king suites or in villas with two to five bedrooms. You can indulge in chocolate in their restaurants and in the spa.
Discover the aromas and flavors of chocolate during a chocolate tasting – you’ll taste distinctive notes of deep citrus and bright passion fruit. And you can see how the taste changes when the chocolate is paired with spices like nutmeg, mace and cinnamon from the estate.
In the restaurants of Calabash Grenada, you can try the cocoa and corn soup from executive chef Ramces Castillo. It has a tomato-corn broth enhanced with ancho pepper, queso fresco and roasted cocoa beans. Enjoy more chocolate in cocoa nibs with cocoa nibs, chocolate banana pudding and, of course, the nutmeg chocolate chunk cookies pictured above.
Or head to Calabash Grenada spa for a chocolate facial or cocoa scrub. Calabash Grenada is also working on adding a chocolate factory and on-site boutique for more chocolate goodness to come. And you can take as many handmade chocolate bars with you as you can in your suitcase.
Anecdote: “Fine or flavored” cocoa
There are two types of cocoa beans in the world: those designated as “loose” or “regular” (from Forastero trees) and those classified as “fine or flavored” cocoa. The latter usually comes from cocoa beans from Criollo or Trinitario trees. Fine or aromatic cocoa is particularly aromatic and only 12 percent of beans exported to the world carry this designation.
The International Cocoa Council (ICCO), which aims to contribute to the achievement of a sustainable cocoa economy, defines “fine and flavored” cocoa in order to move away from more subjective classification criteria. For Spice Island, 100 percent of Grenada’s cocoa exports are classified as fine and flavored cocoa. In order to receive the fine or flavor designation, the beans must be harvested at their peak and precisely fermented and dried, as they are at L’esterre Estate Organics.