|Chase arrived in Grenada!|
Our dock of Canadians, French Canadians & US citizens has ‘bonded’ and we are busy planning parties, outings to various local events and even working out as a group at a local gym. Throw in a few happy hours and dinner parties and we stay more than busy. Boater’s midnight still strikes at 9 ish, however!
|Marie showing off her lamp shade she just bought during our boater beach party|
|Vendor selling the woven lamp shades @ Grand Anse Beach|
|Vendor departing w pocket full of money|
|Too many Carib beers - wearing the lamp shade|
|Concord waterfall & pool|
A refreshing stop at the Concord waterfalls up in the rainforest was our first stop as we headed north along the island. No one went swimming, citing the overcast day and cooler temps. Concord is one of several waterfalls and certainly not the most spectacular, but still very pretty.
|Tethered by this rope around her horns|
The drive UP to it through the rainforest was lush - greenery everywhere with colorful flowers abounding. Throw in a few goats and cows along the sides of the road and one must pay close attention to the road, not the sights!
|See the single red below - Unknown variety|
|No one knows the name of this flower|
|Cocoa, bananas, papaya displayed at Concord Falls|
First big stop was in Gouyave to visit the Nutmeg processing station. This island called Spice Island (duh) is noted also for the numerous spices grown here, particularly nutmeg - that are shipped all over the world.
Take a look at that spice jar sitting on your shelf - probably says from WEST Indies...that is here. Most interesting - again, nothing has changed in hundreds of years. There is nutmeg grown in the EAST Indies, but that is another story.
Nutmeg actually did originate in the East Indies and was brought here where it flourished. Nutmeg is TWO spices -- nutmeg and MACE!
Around the seed is a red membrane that is the mace part.
Grown on an evergreen tree that blossoms with light yellow flowers that grown into the fruit that is about the size of a plum, it matures until it pops open to reveal the seed.
The nut is dried for a couple of months, moved around every day in the drying bins by wooden shovels so as to not harm the oily nut.
Take a look at the national flag of Grenada - the nutmeg is prominently displayed on the red, yellow & green flag! (On the left side)
As we toured the plant, we noticed how shiny the floors were - hundreds of years of oil getting onto the wooden floors! The nuts are sorted by size and quality with the lesser ones being crushed into oil & used in foods and perfumes. The best nuts become the whole nutmeg we know.
|Sorting Table w various size holes|
|Workers sit around another sorting table - looking for quality|
Nutmegs are sorted by hand just like centuries before!
|Nuts that float are NOT 1st quality|
|Bag full of shiny nutmegs|
|Bags are hand stenciled with their destination country|
|Full bags ready to be lowered via pulleys|
|Notice the old fashioned scales|
|Ready for shipment|
|Enough said - at the entrance to Nutmeg Factory|
|The nutmeg as we know it - ready to grate|
|Outside of the Nutmeg Factory|
A brief stop at Sauteurs at the top tip of the island to see Carib’s Leap...the point of land from which numerous Carib Indians (the original settlers) leaped to their deaths on the rocks below rather than be taken prisoner by the French during the 17th century.
The Carib's were cannibals and very vicious. They killed men, women, children of the French and the French got even. The French slaughtered all of the Caribs on the island in retaliation for that attack.
|They jumped right behind here.|
The Grenada Chocolate Factory - Who knew that much of the chocolate made by the finest companies in the world (think Swiss chocolate; chocolate from Germany; Belgium chocolate, etc.) comes from GRENADA!!
|Cocoa beans inside the cocoa fruit|
The island’s rich volcanic soil & mountainous terrain enables the cocoa bean to develop into the high quality, wonderfully aromatic Trinitatrio/Criollo variety of cocoa.
The cocoa grows in a very large pod on a tree (remember my comments when we saw one in Dominican Republic) that when turns red, is ready for harvest.
|See cocoa pod/bean growing down on the lower left side|
Sucking that slimy stuff OFF the bean is a delightful tasks - just don’t bite the bitter bitter bean! Many many years ago, it was the job of children to suck the slimy stuff off, leaving the bean for processing! Now, beans are soaked in some kind of a solution before drying out and then roasted and further processed.
They are then bagged in old burlap bags and shipped around the world. Grenada makes their own chocolate and it, too, is so very delish! I can never ever eat a Hershey Bar again......compared to all the really GOOD chocolate, Hershey tastes like paste wax. This place is in the process of being certified totally 100% organic now....much was already organic, but now 100%.
|Original plantation wall|
|Centuries old plantation|
After eating our way through numerous samples of chocolate candy that absolutely melted in our mouths, we purchased a lot which somehow was eaten before we were two hours out of the place! I am waiting for a cooler day to make “Cocoa Tea” which is the equivalent of our hot chocolate. This 'tea' is made from the cocoa balls that are beans that were fermented and ground into a course blend with spices added. One then grates the ball into boiling water, strains it and serves the drink with milk and sugar added. We shall make this before Chase departs - no matter how hot the outside weather is!
|Cane stalks piling up|
There is a giant water wheel crushing the sugar cane - which is the basis for all rums. The cane stalks are burned as fuel to heat up the cane juice - wood logs are added to keep it a bigger and hotter fire & enormous cast iron bowls (called coppers) hold the cane sugar juice and dump it from one copper to another as it gets hotter and hotter. The stuff sits and ferments too...phew.
|Logs also used as fuel for the fire|
|Adding wood to the fire|
|Been done this way for centuries!|
Walking through the barn like doors into the building where the juice is fermenting in big bins and water is pouring around on the floor in carved out sluices in the concrete floor, I spotted the largest FROG I have ever seen in my life...as big as my FOOT (Size 5). Hopping about, I wondered if he got drunk on the vapors and hoped he didn’t become part of the rum. Sanitary conditions - NOT.
|Fermenting Bins of Sugar Cane before it comes Rum|
|In the main fermenting room - pipes with water (?) & other stuff running in/about|
|This was the most modern equipment seen - tests something I think|
|OSHA would have a field day|
|Still want to drink Rum????|
Unfortunately, by the time we got there (4:15 PM) the place had closed - poor planning on the part of our driver I should say! We missed the formal tour and the rum sampling, but enjoyed poking about & talking with the few remaining employees for a while as we wandered about freely.
|Rums of Grenada- Some of them!|
|Overlooking the Lake|
|Nothing up here but the Lake|
|Coming back into St. Georges|