In 2020, I started The Chocolate Detective after 40 years in the chocolate business, I want to start a different conversation about chocolate and how we consume it. I want to shine a light on how we shop, and with your support WE, as consumers, have the power to change things, far more than we might realise. We can make different choices and still eat chocolate that is delicious, nutritious and also really good for you. We now know the health benefits from eating good dark chocolate (as recommended by Dr Michael Moseley recently in “Just One Thing” BBC R4). The kind of chocolate I am talking about is delicious, deep rich and fruity, smooth and rounded.
I believe that all chocolate lovers should understand where their chocolate is coming from, and what is the true cost, both in terms of people and the planet, and I can help you make a connection direct to the people who grow the cocoa and make the chocolate.
WHAT IS #NETPOSITIVE?
My other passion is the environment and I am really alarmed at how we humans seem to be hurtling towards no return on a path to destroy our planet. I have been heartened and inspired by many people along the way and one recent thought provoking book by Paul Polman & Andrew Winston “Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take”, interviewed on the podcast Outrage + Optimism who "unpack the ways the book re-frames how business can put a lasting end to inequality and climate change. Can every business be Net Positive?" (link below)
How I discovered
“It takes a whole village to make a bar of chocolate”
A mysterious package landed on my desk in 2002. It was the very first bar of Grenada Chocolate to be delivered to London, and I was really excited to unwrap and taste this chocolate from a tiny and radical start up in the rain forest on the Caribbean island of Grenada. I was surprised and delighted by the complex flavours I experienced in this perfected formed bar of chocolate, which was the start of long journey..
Of course I ordered some straight away, and began selling it in my shop on the King's Road. This was the start a long friendship with the founder Mott Green, who was my inspiration and mentor for many years. It was a truly pivotal moment and changed the course of my life in chocolate.
What is the Grenada Chocolate Company?
Started by three friends Edmond Brown, Mott Green & Doug Browne in 1999, this radically different business model upturned all conventions. They enabled cocoa farmers to become chocolate makers, to be the main beneficiaries when we buy each bar of their chocolate. It sounds simple but it was in fact a revolutionary idea, creating a circular economy where all the production value is retained right where the cocoa is grown.
The Grenada Chocolate Factory is one of very few small-scale chocolate-makers producing fine chocolate where the cocoa grows. Because micro batch Farm-to-Bar chocolate making is extremely rare, the Grenada Chocolate Factory had to create many of their own processing methods, designing specialist small scale machines and refurbishing equipment to meet the requirements of their unique situation.
As sustainability is at the core of the company’s values, many of the machines were reconfigured to be powered by solar-electric energy.
The co-operative now has over 200 acres of organic cocoa farms which was formed with the objective of ensuring that the farmers would be fairly rewarded for their hard work. The Grenada Chocolate Company pays 1EC$ (65%) per lb more for the beans than the usual local price, and in many of the farms of the co-operative is also involved in the management of the land as well as the planting, growing and harvesting of the cocoa. The cocoa is grown totally naturally without the use of any chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers and has been Certified Organic by CERES.
Building resilience after COVID-19
So what is my objective?
To raise £10,000 to produce a costed design and business plan in order to build a sustainable factory run with solar power for the Grenada Chocolate Company.
Your support will give the cocoa farmers the confidence that there is a future for them, so they can continue to make chocolate from their harvest and can continue to be a sustainable business on the island.
Help me to build a crowd that is passionate about chocolate and cares where it comes from, how it is produced, and who benefits from the making.
In simple terms this is to fund the first steps in planning a purpose built solar powered permanent home (factory) for the Grenada Chocolate Company which makes award winning chocolate at source from the finest cocoa beans in the world, that will be fit for the future.
How Grenada Chocolate is made, and Tasting Notes
by CHARLIE BOXER sailor and proprietor ITALO deli
Tasting notes: rich and fruity with notes of red berries, tropical and dried fruits, tobacco and citrus.
- Contains soya.
- Pioneering, organic and sustainable tree to bar chocolate.
This high quality organic dark chocolate is made in the village of Hermitage, St Patricks in Grenada, using the world famous Trinitario cocoa beans.The chocolate factory is nestled in lush cocoa groves in Grenada’s pristine rainforest..
The internationally award-winning organic dark chocolate has the wonderful complex flavour of Grenada’s fine-flavoured organic cocoa beans, processed carefully in small batches. Producing chocolate right where the cocoa grows allows the co-operative to do its own fermenting which gives a real advantage in creating the finest, most complex phenolic profile from the beans. The other important factor is that fresh beans are used to make the chocolate rather than ones that have been shipped halfway around the world and might be months or even years old.
The Grenada Chocolate Company extracts its own cocoa butter from the same cocoa to add to the chocolate recipes, using unique presses designed by Mott and Doug. This gives the chocolate a luxurious extra richness to add to its deep intense fruity flavour.
The minimal amount of sugar used is a fine organic raw sugar produced and milled by an organic growers’ co-operative in Brazil. Whole organic vanilla beans grown bio-dynamically in Costa Rica provide our “dash” of vanilla. Organic soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier in extremely small amounts, because they have found that without this addition it is almost impossible to make small batch chocolate successfully in the humidity of the tropics.
Choose between Nib-A-Licious, 82% and 100% chocolate bars, which will be posted to your UK address at no extra charge.
In return for your donation to support the work of the Chocolate Detective you can select from the rewards listed – or just donate. I will be adding more rewards at intervals, this is just for starters. Please note where the rewards include postage this is for UK only There will be some really special editions made from the Grenada Chocolate by Paul A Young and Karen Waller at TEMPT YORK who are making a special vegan edition for Valentines and there will be others. - so watch this space & follow us on social media:
Thank you for all your support!
RESOURCES & MORE INFORMATION
**Mott Green (1966-2013) has been a huge influence on so many lives, and can be credited with starting THE CHOCOLATE REVOLUTION with Edmond Brown and Doug Browne** (1966-2008).
Eti Peleg's 6 minute film Radical Chocolate:
Trailer to Kumkum Bhavnani's film Radical Chocolate starring Mott Green and cocoa farmers Nothing like chocolate.
Grenada Chocolate & Chantal Coady working with Fortnum's to deliver 99% emission free Sailboat Collection Fortnum's Sailboat Chocolate from Grenada
Outrage + Optimism podcast (on apple podcasts).
Making Grenada Chocolate
Using the antique melangeur to grind organic cocoa nibs and unrefined organic sugar for the Nib-A-Licious chocolate bar recipe.
Walking the cocoa beans to help dry them evenly using traditional cocoa drying sheds
Making "Smile" organic cocoa free - non alkalised - and rich in cocoa butter
Fermentation, a key stage to developing the unique flavour profile of these beans