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A sign of a great festival is one that is well know, returns year after year, and serves a global audience. Grenada Chocolate Fest fits into that category, as the ever-popular multi-day event is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The annual Grenada Chocolate Festival is a widely recognised and highly anticipated annual event that attracts a global audience. With its popularity growing each year, the festival has become a staple in the world of culinary arts and is celebrated by both tourists and local residents alike. The festival is the perfect way to explore the island's rich local chocolate scene.
Located on the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada, the festival offers a unique blend of local culture and world-class chocolate-making. From chocolate-themed workshops and demonstrations to tastings and competitions, there's something for everyone. Whether you're an expert chocolatier or just someone who appreciates a piece of delicious chocolate, this festival has something for everyone.
Chocolate Lover Experiences and Events
There are plenty of chocolate lover experiences available across the six-day event. Some of the notable highlights include:
- Tuesday 16th May 2023
- Chocolate and rum experience with Tri Island
- Head to the House of Chocolate to stock up on local cocoa and chocolate
- Opening party at Westerhall Estate
- Wednesday 17th May 2023
- Welcome to a working cocoa farm (become a cocoa farmer for the day)
- Day at the Plantation with Farmer's Lunch
- All about Belmont Estate chocolate
- Westerhall Street Food Chocolate Rum Extravaganza at Dodgy Dock Restaurant
- Thursday 18th May 2023
- Chocolate making and tasting workshops and demonstrations
- Terroir of Rum and Chocolate Masterclass with Renegade and Tri Island at Silversands
- Sunset and Chocolate Night Dive with Aquanauts Grenada
- Friday 19th May 2023
- Visit Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Plantation
- Chocolate, coffee and tea connections and taste
- Farm lunch and swim at Mount Edgecombe
- Emergence of Caribbean Mayan cacao from Mazorca Negra Mexican Chocolatiers
- Rum and chocolate cocktail competition at Mount Cinnamon
- Saturday 20th May 2023
- Chocolate inspired art, printing cocoa leaves, tasting chocolate with colour, making chocolate like an Aztec, cooking with chocolate demonstration, cocoa book reading, and more.
- Chocolate dinner, Mott Green, the GCC and his Legacy at Dodgy Dock
- Yoga sound healing with chocolate at Sankalpa Yoga Studio
- Sunday 21st May 2023
- Chocolate yoga tasting meditation (using smell and taste alongside meditation, which has been known to trigger childhood memories of chocolate)
- Cocoa butter, nibs and chocolate potion making
- Wellness benefits of chocolate and cocoa (see, there are healthy benefits of chocolate after all!)
- Stacey Byer and Cocoa Art
- A chocolatier, perfumer and rum maker meet at a tropical garden at The Tower
- Closing party at Le Phare Bleu
The island is famous for both chocolate and rum, so there's also a few rum-centric activities available, too.
Most of these experiences are ticketed and are chargeable, with prices broadly ranging between EC$60 (around £20) and EC$400 (around £125). Tickets are available for individual events or you can purchase a pass for the full event.
Quite honestly, I'm not sure I'd be able to cram everything I'd want to do into just under a week. There's quite a few activities here that sound really interesting.
Visiting a plantation is on my bucket list. Mount Edgecombe looks delightful (perfect for a swim), and I'm intrigued at learning how yoga and chocolate pair together. The wellness aspect looks like a great way to close the event.
But in all honesty, they had me at "chocolate tasting"! I'm also not one to turn down a chocolate making activity.
How to Get There and Where to Stay
If you're anything like me, by now you'll be frantically Googling the next available flights to the chocolate capital of the Caribbean.
Package holidays to the Caribbean are available through tour operators, or you can create your own trip to have more granular control over your adventure.
I couldn't find any direct flights to Maurice Bishop International Airport (GND) from London, meaning you'll have at least one change of aircraft to get to chocolate paradise. Swifter journeys with British Airways runs on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, where the total travel time can be done in under 11 hours (with one change).
In terms of hotels, most will be found along the south western coast of Grenada, in the St George area.
True Blue Bay Boutique Resort is a partner hotel for Grenada Chocolate Fest, so you'll find this to be ideally located for easy access to the festival events, plus it's practically next door to the airport (nobody wants to trek half way across a country just to find their hotel after a long-haul flight!). With names like "Cocoa Pod rooms" and "Cocoa Pod suites," it's meant to be for a chocoholic! The hotel reckons rates during the event range from $200 (around £170) to $500 (around £415) per night.
Why Support Grenada Chocolate Festival?
It's no surprise that True Blue Bay Resort is a partner hotel for Grenada Chocolate Fest as the owner of the hotel, and the founder of the chocolate festival, is Magdalena Fielden. Magdalena is a passionate supporter of tree to bar chocolate and is a staunch advocate of Grenadian chocolate.
The annual chocolate festival has helped create awareness of island-grown-and-made chocolate all over the world. The number of producers on the island has grown from just two to at least six since the event began.
Visitors might be drawn to the event for the chocolate tastings, but the chocolate festival is the perfect way to discover Grenada's cocoa and chocolate industry, learn about the history of cocoa, enjoy delicious chocolate-inspired cuisine, become a farmer for a day, learn about the ethical way to grown cocoa beans, and discover local arts and crafts, all while you kick back and relax, soaking in pure Grenada.
It's not just chocolate farms and chocolate makers that benefit from the event. Local businesses utilising cocoa butter in their spa and beauty products have benefited from the attention, as have jewellery makers and artists producing chocolate-inspired items. There's also the hospitality industry that benefits from inbound tourism as visitors flock to enjoy all things chocolate on one of Earth's most beautiful islands.
Fear not. It might take a bit more planning on your part but you can still feed your inner chocoholic when you visit the chocolate island. Why not arrange your own visit to a cocoa plantation and chocolate factory? Very little beats delicious organic chocolate straight from the source.
With a plethora of restaurants on the island, finding Grenadian chocolate or cacao on the menu won't be too difficult. Sipping on a mug of cocoa tea while soaking in the gorgeous Caribbean scenery sounds heavenly to me. Or perhaps there's a chocolate beer with your name on it? Grenada's chocolate scene will not disappoint any foodie.
And if it's rest and relaxation you seek, you'll find chocolate body scrubs, cocoa scrubs, and chocolate masks galore in the luxurious island spas. Local makers use Grenada cocoa butter and cocoa husks to create extraordinary beautify products, allowing you to indulge in delicious chocolate without actually eating it. Who'd turn down a relaxing chocolate massage?
But at the very least, you should track down chocolate bars from Grenada Chocolate Company, Belmont Estate, Tri-Island Chocolate, Crayfish Bay Organic Farm, Jouvay Chocolate, and L'Esterre Estate, to compare and contrast flavours of their chocolates. Savour each one to discover how diverse the chocolate flavours can be from an island that's only 21 miles long. As you know, cocoa picks up flavours from other plants growing around it, so there's a good chance you'll find hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and others in the aromas and flavours.
For more information, head to the Grenada Chocolate Fest website here. If you visit Grenada outside of the event dates, you'll still find plenty of chocolate-inspired activities to satisfy your cravings, but the festival is the cherry on the cake.
Are you heading to Grenada for the Chocolate Festival? Make me jealous in the comments below.