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Sunday 16 January 2011

A Chocolate Trip to Grenada

It was this time last year that Kate and I embarked on a very special Chocolate adventure and I think it’s high time I told you about it! So Cocoa has been selling a unique chocolate bar made by The Grenada Chocolate Company for about 6 years now. What makes this bar unique is the fact the chocolate it is made from the Cocoa tree to the bar all in one country, (which is rare for chocolate as most Cocoa beans get shipped off to be made into chocolate in Europe.) As chocolate is worth more then Cocoa beans, this gives poorer Cocoa growing countries like Grenada a chance to make their own profits. It is also the smallest chocolate factory in the world proudly owned as a cooperative and the factory is even Solar powered. You can’t get more ethical then this!

The chocolate also tastes amazing; it’s got a deliciously dark flavour and fruity notes unlike any other. You really have to try it to believe it. Kate and I had been dying to visit this wonderful place and see for ourselves, just how these unique bars are made. After years of saving & dreaming we finally flew over and stayed in a wooden house situated in one of the Cocoa plantations that produce the beans for the bar. This was perfect as we were surrounded by these colourful pods hanging in the rainforest like a rainbow of lanterns in the trees. We had a chance to work with the farmers collecting the pods together, using a machete!

So to make the chocolate we have to start from scratch, we cracked the pods open, pulling out the sticky cocoa beans and put them in the fermenting sheds just next to our wooden house. Every day the beans were turned over in the sheds and everyday we could smell a strange chocolate brewery aroma. After a week we took the beans to dry in the sun on the drying trays, watching out for the rain in case we needed to wheel them undercover.

On to the next stage, we then took the beans to the factory ready to be made into chocolate! The factory smells like heaven before we even enter the building, wafts of chocolate circle the air.

We are shown how these almond-like beans are roasted, shelled, crushed, mixed, pressed, conched, tempered, moulded and packed into the chocolate bars we sell in the shop. It’s more complicated then you think but these small machines and hard workers make it look simple.

This was all started by Mott Green an enthusiastic New Yorker who fell in love with the island over 20 years ago. With a background in engineering he has helped create this mad house of whirring machines responsible for all these chocolate bars, he also lives in the factory! Mott is hopefully making a visit to Cocoa in March so watch this space for that.

Check out the Grenada Chocolate Company’s website at.. http://www.grenadachocolate.com/

Check out where we stayed at… http://www.crayfishbay.com/

If you fancy trying these bars yourself check out our shop at ….


Friday 7 January 2011


The team: Bridget & Dave

Handmade chocolates in the Peak District National Park...........

In case you didn't know already, we are proud purveyors of Cocoadance Chocolates! Because we love them sooo much, I thought they deserved a mention on our Blog.

Cocoadance aren't just any old Chocolate company, there are many many reasons why they are so special...

This should set the scene:

'Set on the boundary between the Dark Peak and White Peak areas….located beneath Mam Tor, known locally as the ‘Shivering Mountain’…overlooking the tiny village of Castleton, the romantic setting for Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Peveril of the Peak’…and lying at the end of the derelict A625 just behind the Blue John Cavern, is the best kept secret in the world of chocolate….'

So pretty

I thought I'd drop in.. The name 'Cocoadance' refers to a ritual dance performed by women in some cocoa growing regions where they shuffle through the cocoa beans with their bare feet to continually turn them. This helps clean the beans and allow them to dry evenly. We saw something similar to this when we visited Grenada.

All Dave & Bridget's beautiful chocolates are handmade by them in small batches in their National Trust Barn and Farmhouse. Here is a list of a selection of their marvelous concoctions...My favourite are the sugar plums, yum! Anne and some of our girlie friends enjoyed Dave & Bridget's Sugar Plums whilst watching the Nutcracker for Anne's Birthday, it was a truly enchanted experience!!

Sugar plum fairies
Banoffee Truffles
Salted Caramels
Strawberry Daiquiri Truffles
Chilli & Lime Truffles
Chilli Lips
Embellished with Bridget's fairy dust
Orange & Cointreau
Blueberry & Cassis
Sticky Toffee Lips
They also make limited edition fresh chocolates infused with seasonal flavours which are well worth a try!
& MORE...
Their Toy Box of treats

Every time we're due for a Cocoadance delivery Anne & and I always get excited, even after 6 years of selling their chocolates, it always feels magical unpacking their parcels of special treats! It isn't just the joy of the chocolate we look forward to, Dave always carefully delivers their chocolates and takes the time to stay for a chat and we swap chocolate gosssip! We introduce him to customers as the man that makes their nipples hehehe! (In case you don't know we sell the most decadent of all chocolates, Nipples of Venus. You HAVE to come in and try one if you haven't experienced one already!)

Dave chocolate genius Golubows

Chocolate Experience Days

Now this is the exciting bit...!!

Dave & Bridget hold Chocolate Experiences in their converted barn. Which means you are invited to have a little taste of their sweet lives, as well as learning about chocolate, tasting chocolate, drinking chocolate AND making chocolate!!

Dave and Bridget kindly invited Anne and I to one of their Experience Days, we had a truly amazing time!! We learnt lots, ate lots and had a giggle at the same time and the setting was spectacular, I couldn't believe my eyes! We would thoroughly recommend it to anyone!

1. They are priced at £29.99 each
2. You may book as a group or an individual
3. Visit www.cocoadance.com for more details on booking