The minute I found out that Grenada had a chocolate factory, it was added to Tyler and I’s bucket list. Tyler and I had been trying to visit the area for a while. We tried to rent a car for my birthday to go, but couldn’t get a car. We tried again after midterms but learned that it was closed on Saturdays. So, third times the charm, we planned to go while Tyler’s parents were here after spending the first part of the trip on the south side of the island snorkeling, exploring and eating lots of fish.
Belmont Estates is located in Heritage, which is up toward the North-Eastern side of the Island in St. Patricks. Belmont Estate actually grows the cocoa beans for the Grenadian Chocolate Factory. It is quite a long drive up there, about an hour or so, but totally worth it. Windy Grenadian roads and lacking road signs make all road trips an adventure. Mom didn’t handle the drive so well, but she survived and the tasty food and amazing chocolate I think we can agree made it all worthwhile.
We decided to tour the plantation first. We got to see what a cocoa pod looks like – which honestly, I never would have assumed that this was where chocolate came from. We even got to taste what the cocoa pod seeds taste like. Then we went through the process of how the cocoa seeds are fermented and darken to form something more closely resembling something I might assume makes chocolate. Next the beans dry out in the sun for some time and the beans are regularly walked. Yes, walked! Tyler contributed a little to the chocolate making process even.
The best part of the tour was the fact that it ended with samples of cocoa tea (which was incredible, mostly because it was a less-sweet version of hot cocoa) and some of the chocolate made at the Chocolate Factory. It was hard not too eat the entire tray of chocolate pieces as they are so, so good.
Our tour of Belmont Estate ended with eating lunch at the plantation restaurant. Let me just say that I still dream of this meal. It was an amazing 3 course Grenadian meal that made me so full that it hurt. The best part, hands down in my opinion, was the ginger-pumpkin soup. It might have been the cold I was fighting, but the soup was SO good! I want so very bad to learn how to make it because I think I could eat that soup all day. But the soup was followed by a buffet main course with delicious beef and fish and veggies and an amazing baked breadfruit cornbread-like thing. And since all meals are not complete without dessert, Grenada’s famous nutmeg ice cream followed. Can you see why I was so full it hurt? To top it all off, it started to rain as lunch ended and when it stopped, the most beautiful, full arc rainbow was visible through the tropical foliage.
I loved our visit to the Chocolate Factory. It was such a fun trip to all make together and such a fun experience. It is so beautiful up there. I am already secretly hoping for a return trip this December once finals are over.
Tyler and I had a blast while Mom and Dad were here – it was so nice that they came. It was like a vacation for us too! We hope we can leur more family and friends to come visit – we promise we will go to the Chocolate Factory…and that sure makes it worth it. Plus Tyler and I are pretty cool too! 🙂