Move over Paris, Rome and New York – the top travel destination for 2019 is… Grenada! That’s according to travel expert Kacie Morgan (aka the Rare Welsh Bit), writing in the World Travel Market’s monthly tourism blog.
According to Kacie, travellers are “developing an appetite for smaller Caribbean nations with distinctive culinary identities”. The nutmeg, mace, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and ginger that give the Spice Isle its name are only part of the attraction, however, as switched-on foodies are heading to the island for its chocolate.
Much of the chocolate we consume is produced in ways that are bad for the environment, bad for the farmers and bad for us, contributing to deforestation and rural poverty, and resulting in a product that may be adulterated with harmful additives and even pesticides. Happily, since 1999 Grenada has chosen another path, and the island’s five producers all operate on a ‘tree to bar’ basis. In other words, the cacao is harvested by farmers on a single estate, where the cocoa beans are processed and turned into chocolate, all in an ethical and eco-friendly way.
For the real enthusiast, the place to go is the House of Chocolate, in St George’s, which sells chocolate in every imaginable form alongside chocolate-themed souvenirs from clothing to cookbooks. If you visit, you’ll be following in the very recent footsteps of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who stopped by on 23 March. The environment-friendly way in which Grenadian chocolate is produced will certainly have appealed to the Prince, who championed conservation, fair trade principles and organic farming decades before they became fashionable.
But if this is still not enough for chocaholic readers, then the Grenada Chocolate Festival should be on your culinary ‘bucket list’. This year it takes place from 31 May to 8 June and celebrates the bitter-sweet pleasures of our favourite confectionery in food, drink (chocolate crème liqueur, chocolate beer and cocoa tea), plantation and factory visits, a sunset cruise, walks through cacao forests and even a chocolate tasting meditation and yoga practice. After that it seems rather a shame simply to spread it all over oneself in a dutty mas band – but, there again, chocolate is said to be good for the skin!
Tickets for the Grenada Chocolate Festival are available through Eventbrite.
For a foretaste of the Chocolate Festival, you should read Kacie’s report on the 2018 event. Be warned: it also includes dangerously tempting images of Grenadian food!