It may have been a couple of months since I last stepped on Grenadian soil but the memories don’t leave you, and if you visit Grenada for the chocolate festival, I know you’ll be feeling the same way!
As you probably know from my Instagram stories and posts I was invited by the Grenadian Tourism Authority to attend and be part of Grenada’s annual chocolate festival.
Set up by the lovely and creative Magdelena who also owns True Blue Bay where we stayed and the must visit Dodgy Dock (a spot that’s a hit with locals, tourists and those alike) its easy to see why Magdelena is creating these places and attractions on the island which are spoken about all over the globe, because the beauty and fertility of Grenada needs to be known about worldwide!
The chocolate festival is a week long event which celebrates and involves all things chocolate and all things Grenadian. If you visit the chocolate festival you will be able to travel to different parts of the island, try delicious chocolate, meet fantastic new people, take part in new activities, eat amazing chocolate, draw, paint, hike, taste beautiful chocolate, enjoy a sunset cruise, harvest cocoa, see all steps to making chocolate, get involved with the processes of making it, sample scrumptious chocolate, get spoiled at Grenada’s 5* hotel, make a visit to central St George’s, have lunch at picturesque locations, talk about chocolate, get involved with open air chef guided cooking classes and…more!
There’s a whole host of events in the line up and the amazing thing is, you can dabble in and out as you please!
I didn't take part in all aspects as I was cooking away on some of the days but be assured that all opinions are my own and I will tell you about all the amazing things I did take part in!
Below are my highlights from such a fantastic trip put on for me by Pure Grenada!
On the Sunday I was invited to talk about my favourite topic, food! The great thing about the chocolate festival is that everyone there is a foodie! As if food didn’t already in it’s own right open so many channels of communication, speaking about food and chocolate to food lovers sparked great conversation!
Our interactive discussions led us all to share our favourite chocolate stories, recipes, memories and everything else! We told our tales over some delicious chocolate drinks by AMAZ-IN (poured over ice this chocolate cream liquor is delicious), pizza and a stunning sunset setting behind us. This day proved how well the beautiful Caribbean and chocolate go together!
Earlier this same day we had an open-air yoga class with Malika Maitland who encouraged us at the end to really take time and think about the flavour notes in the chocolate we eat. Smell it, touch it, then slowly eat it.
How many times have we ate piece after piece of chocolate on the sofa without actually really thinking of the flavour? It’s easy to do but we really should take time out to connect with our food so that we can understand it better and enjoy it more! This of course makes perfect sense when you say it, but in the hustle and bustle of day to day life it’s important to get all of life’s pleasures, especially when it comes to food right!?
Earlier that day we had also done a session called ‘Tasting With Colour’ which was designed to express the flavour profiles of chocolate into a colour format.
It goes a little something like this:
If you had to think of colour in your minds eye when eating a lemon, what colour is it?
How about a toasted hazelnut, what colour is that? How about plums or chilli? We can all conjure up colours of food. This is easy to do when we know the food we are trying to find a colour for, but sometimes if we don’t know the flavour and want to pin point it, then tasting with colours may help. Flavour notes were referenced by colours and as we ate different chocolates we painted these colours.
It was a great thing to do and it shows how interesting the connections between our taste, smell and memories are.
After this session we got yet another chance to be hands on with Sheba from OMI Grenada who taught us how to make a delicious cocoa tea blend.
We used local fragrant spices along with cocoa to make a beautiful mix which when steeped in water, makes a delicious tea. I really really enjoyed creating this and was inspired to create for Myristica our very own cocoa tea version, watch this space!
Another exciting thing we done and again chocolate themed was a visit to the well known island brewery known as The West Indies Brewery. They had put on live music for the event and had also created some very interesting beers with the addition of chocolate!
I have to admit, I'm not a really a fan of beer, however, I found this combination very creative! It got me questioning what other ways can you incorporate cocoa into beverages?! This led me on my return to the UK, to create a kombucha from the roasted cocoa beans! I'll give more information about this in the upcoming blog talking about Crayfish Bay!
For now, I hope you have learned a thing or two about chocolate or at least been able to feel that visiting Grenada's chocolate festival is a great way to explore the island as well as enjoy its produce. If not, I'm sure you will do in the next few blog posts which give more insight into some of the things I cooked during my stay (including some recipes) and also a very informative guide into decisions we all can make when buying chocolate.
Between then and now though, hopefully when you next eat chocolate you'll take a moment to really enjoy each bite whilst being aware of the different flavours which appease the palate as the chocolate melts on the tongue! If you experience a new flavour during a meal then perhaps you'll also try and figure it out by trying the Tasting With Colour technique.
Either way, take time to enjoy the food you eat! If your day to day schedule means you'll find it hard to do, well then maybe, you just need to book yourself into next years Chocolate Festival to make sure that you can do so with great people like yourself...