The Spice Necklace Blog

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Belmont Estate, Grenada:
February 15, 2011
Chocolate and Cheese

We’re in Carriacou, waiting for our repaired chartplotter to be delivered back from an expensive trip to the hospital (a.k.a. the Raymarine repair facility in New Hampshire). On our trip from Grenada to Carriacou the first week of February, its screen suddenly went black, and from then on it obstinately refused to share even a shred of information – no electronic charts, no positions, no waypoints. Luckily, we have two backup gps units, which we used last week when our friends Tricia and Skip were onboard with us. Having guests, by the way, is my excuse for no posts here since the end of January. Guests mean cleaning like a mad demon beforehand, and then, once they arrive, trying to show – and feed – them everything we love about this part of the world.

Speaking of feeding: Before we left Grenada, we rented a car with Yani and Chris on the sailboat Magus for a day of island re-exploration. One of our stops was Belmont Estate, a working plantation that dates back to the 17th century. Nutmeg and mace were once the number one crop here, until Hurricane Ivan reduced production by 75%. Now cocoa gets top spot.

Try the truffles: Lauren Charles with
some of her creations
Belmont (among other farmers) supplies beans to the Grenada Chocolate Company, which turns them into dark chocolate (selling bars with a cocoa content of 60%, 71%, and 82%). But I had recently heard that two Grenadians, under the tutelage of a Philadelphia chocolatier, were also using the chocolate to make bonbons and truffles. And you know me and chocolate.

If you’ve read The Spice Necklace, you’ll know I also have a thing for goat cheese. And Belmont is home to a project run by American Christine Curry, who is showing Grenadians how to operate a goat dairy and make cheese, adding another dimension to the economy of an island where goats have traditionally been raised only for their meat.

This was our first visit to Belmont since the dairy has been up and running. We chatted with Curry and a couple of the Grenadians involved in the project, and we met the goats, who all have names and are all milked by hand. But we left without cheese. It’s so popular with chefs and others (like us) that the dairy’s 30 goats aren’t producing enough milk to keep up with demand. The greens the goats eat (including glorisita), Curry told me, are what makes The Grenada Project’s chevre so delicious.

Say cheese: In theory, you can get
plain and smoked chevre, or logs coated in
cracked pepper, hot pepper, Italian herbs,
and garlic and chives. But currently
demand is outpacing supply.

But we did get our chocolate fix: bars, bonbons, and slices of a fab, fluffy chocolate cake baked in a solar oven and then sandwiched with homemade golden apple jam. Across the board, the bonbons weren’t up to those of Isabel Brash in Trinidad, but there were some individual standouts, like the truffle made with local Rivers rum. I won’t touch Rivers in a glass – on Receta, it’s deemed “fish rum,” suitable only for pouring into the gills of a fish we’ve hooked to stun it before we bring it aboard – but somehow the harsh, high-octane Rivers mellowed when combined with high-octane chocolate.

Ladies man: Andy Thomas is learning the dairy biz at Belmont

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6 comments on “Belmont Estate, Grenada:
February 15, 2011
Chocolate and Cheese

  1. Christine Curry on said:

    Dear Ann,

    You’re darling…love your site and what you’re doing…FUN.

    Just checked it out again…thank you for featuring The Goat Dairy on your blog.

    “Gliricidia” has a strange spelling…I just thought you might want to know.

    Kind thoughts,


  2. Thanks, Christine. And thanks for setting me straight on the spelling. Love your cheese….
    – ann

  3. Kelly Shively on said:

    My Wife and I just finished reading Spice Necklace. What a great read! We love your recipes and stories. Keep up the good work.

  4. Glad you enjoyed the book — thanks for writing.

  5. earl roberts on said:

    Just lovely, another classic example of what a little effort and a dream can do. Your writing is inspirational to me a Grenadian. It truly shows that Grenada has a beautiful opportunity with the Grenada project concept. Endless possibilities with this model. it takes time to develop a good product. We have some of what it takes.all parties need to lend a hand and make it work. just as you are doing your part. Keep up the good work. LOVELY

  6. Helene on said:

    Just enjoyed a goat cheese salad here at le phar blue’s casual poolside restaurant-very fresh and tasty.looking for new culinary adventures here in south grenada-any recommendations for fish carib style?

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