Our Chocolate Story
Belmont Estate’s history of growing cocoa dates back to the 1700s when cocoa was first introduced by the French during the days of colonialism. For centuries, the estate farmed and processed cocoa, and in the 1900s Belmont Estate exported its dried beans to Europe. Our recent chocolate story is the sweeter part of our history.
Chocolate making in Grenada started with the island’s Father of Chocolate, Mott Green, a visionary leader and self-made chocolate maker, who founded the Grenada Chocolate Company (GCC) in 1999. He spearheaded the tree-to-bar movement in Grenada which paved the way for the opening of several chocolate companies on the island.
Belmont Estate has a strong and enduring relationship with the GCC as we were the first farm to supply organic cocoa beans to the GCC. Both companies became certified organic in 2003, an accomplishment championed by Mott, who also significantly influenced Belmont Estate’s commitment to sustainability in its business operation.
In 2016, Jay Kang, an expert chocolate maker/chocolatier from London, contacted Shadel requesting a visit to Belmont Estate to specifically learn about cocoa farming and processing. Shadel welcomed him and he enjoyed a very immersive experience, discovering traditional organic cocoa farming. In addition, he fell in love with the people, Belmont Estate and the island. A simple inquiry became the start of a fulfilling and fruitful relationship. Shadel shared with Jay her desire to create Tree-to-Bar chocolate at Belmont Estate, using their fine quality beans to make a premium bar that people would enjoy.
Jay was extremely enthusiastic and returned to Belmont Estate in November 2019 to spearhead the project, creating the plans for the kitchen, shop and product line. Their shared enthusiasm and passion for cocoa fueled the beginnings of the Belmont Estate Chocolate Factory.
To ensure continuity in quality and excellence, Jay trained a team to continue his work in delivering world-class chocolate incorporating the flavours of Belmont Estate. Six months later, in May 2017, as a part of the Chocolate Festival celebrations that year, we proudly opened the doors of our chocolate factory and Belmont Estate’s Fine Chocolate line was born. Shadel’s vision to create tree-to-bar chocolate was finally realised, through the expert guidance and creativity of Jay Kang. Jay is credited as the co-creator of Belmont Estate Fine Chocolate.
Belmont Estate continues to craft a rich variety of fine flavour chocolates, showcasing the spices of the estate. The original collection that we released includes Dark 74%, Dark 74% with Sea Salt, Dark Milk 60%, and Pure Grenada - Dark Milk with Spices. They remain our most sought-after flavours. Taking Belmont Estate’s tree-to-bar chocolate to the next level is the present team, managed by Petrina DeGale and headed by Chef Roland Baptiste, who collaboratively have expanded the chocolate line, ranging from Absolute Dark (100% cocoa) to Pure White (45% cocoa) and chocolates with distinctive island flavours like Zesty Lemongrass, Ginger Fudge, Oil Down, Caribbean Bay Leaf, and Creamy Caramel and more! The Chocolate Team continues to innovate and demonstrate their creativity and commitment to excellence by consistently developing a sundry of flavours that is sure to please every palate.
Organic Tree-to-Bar Chocolate
An authentic tree-to-bar chocolate experience awaits you at Belmont Estate. Not only do we grow, harvest, ferment, and dry some of the finest cocoa beans in the world, we also produce our own chocolates, cocoa powder, traditional cocoa balls, and cocoa butter.
Indulge in the unique flavours of our fine organic single-estate chocolate. Our small batch craft chocolate production focuses on quality. The very finest beans are selected to craft a delicious, healthy and enjoyable chocolate experience. Made with passion, our chocolate is ‘aged’ for three months to release astringency, accentuate the intrinsic delicate cocoa notes and balance the flavours to perfection.
Our Chocolate Making Process
1. HAND SORTING
Our beans are hand sorted up to five times at our fermentary to remove defective beans and foreign matter ensuring that only high quality beans are used for the roasting process.
We carefully check the moisture content of our beans then they are carefully roasted with even, well-distributed heat, over a period of time to bring out the aromas and flavours that are intrinsic to our chocolate.
3. CRACKING & WINNOWING
Our beans are then broken into small pieces (nibs) and the shells are separated from the nibs during winnowing. The shells are used in our compost and the nibs are used to make chocolate, cocoa balls, cocoa powder and cocoa butter. We also offer our nibs for sale as a healthy snack.
4. GRINDING & CONCHING
Organic nibs are ground to a paste and sugar is added to make our dark chocolate; while organic milk and cocoa butter are added to make our milk chocolate. The grinding and conching are done for 120 hours, breaking down the size to about 15 microns and allowing the volatile acidic flavours to dissipate. The final chocolate paste is set into 5 kg blocks and put aside in our aging room to mature.
Aged chocolate is a fairly new phenomenon that equates to aging wine, whisky or cheese. Our dark chocolates are aged for three months and our milk chocolates for one month, in order to remove any volatile flavours, like acidity or astringency, correct any flaws, and to allow the chocolate to mature and develop a well-rounded flavour profile. After aging, the chocolate reveals the intrinsic cocoa flavours, and a memorable sensory experience for the taster to enjoy.
Solid chocolate blocks are melted/heated and cooled to specific temperatures in our tempering machine. This results in stable chocolate crystals, a crisp snap, smooth silky texture and a glossy shine. Our chocolate makers also hand temper our chocolates.
7. MOULDING & WRAPPING
The tempered chocolate is moulded into our distinctive Belmont Estate bars, cooled and set, and carefully inspected for quality. Bars are then carefully hand wrapped in gold foil and placed into specially designed boxes, ready for you to enjoy. The final product is a carefully crafted chocolate created with love from the hands and hearts of our people.