Holy Cacao Balls and Bars! – Grenadian Organic Chocolate Bliss
On my trip to Grenada I discovered why it is world-renowned as The Isle of Spice! The spices produced organically from this beautiful island are prevalent in the Grenadian’s foods, drinks, ointments and even things like soap and herbal teas – all of which you will be able to experience when you visit. You also have opportunity, like we did, to visit, have lunch, or even stay at the plantations and get a first-hand glimpse of how all of the savory spices and delicious cocoa/cacao are harvested, processed and transformed.
Grenada is home to ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mace, pimento/allspice, turmeric, lemon grass, vanilla, and cocoa/cacao to name but a few. There are more spices per square mile than any other place on the planet. Grenada produces one third of the world’s nutmeg and is the second largest producer. When you visit and taste all of the wonderful gifts this little island has to offer, you soon come to see why Grenada nutmeg and cacao are some of the best on the planet!
But for purposes of this post, it’s all about the cacao!! We learned and of course taste-tested Grenada’s “best quality cocoa on the planet,” as it is known to be. The key being the rich volcanic soil and being 12 degrees North of the Equator. We picked up several bags of pure organic cocoa balls that can be dropped in hot water for a quick chocolatey warm, liquid treat!
As you see, I keep interchanging the words cacao and cocoa simply because people are more familiar with the more generic word, cocoa – myself preferring to say cacao. There are some variations in its use, which you can learn about in this post I found by Chocolate In Context. It’s very insightful on the use of either word and you can choose for yourself: Chocolate Linguistics: You Say Cocoa, I Say Cacao
At the Belmonte Estate plantation we got a chance to see what is called “trampling or dancing of the cocoa” done by turning it with bare feet. We also enjoyed a lovely 3 course lunch overlooking the beautiful plantation vista, concluded with vegan chocolate cake straight from the cacao! And after, we had fun sampling and purchasing the famous “The Grenada Chocolate Company” chocolate. I took home 6 bars – basically every bar they make – including 100% pure organic, vegan dark chocolate!
It was very interesting to see and learn about the cocoa plantations, topped only by actually tasting the yummy stuff!
We also picked up their amazing cocoa balls, which I got to enjoy yesterday morning in a giant mug, organic and pure, by just popping into hot water and then stirring with my Grenadian cinnamon stick. It was savory bliss to warm the tummy on a chilly morning. I’m looking forward to enjoying more as the fall and winter seasons continue.
In many cacao-producing countries the cacao beans are locally used for making “cocoa tea”. The ground cocoa is rolled into balls or cubes, and sometimes sticks. We found cubes and balls in Grenada. These balls (or cubes or sticks) are used for making “cocoa tea”, which in other countries is called a “hot cup of chocolate”.
The cocoa balls contain both the cocoa powder and the cocoa butter which is naturally present in the cacao beans (the cacao beans contain approximately 50% cocoa butter) which means that the flavor of the final “tea” is very rich and similar to making hot chocolate using a dark chocolate bar dissolved in hot water.
You can add anything you like to your hot cocoa, but I enjoy mine pure and the hint of cinnamon was great. You could also add nutmeg, vanilla, or maybe even a dash of cayenne to spice it up! mmmm. Those that like a more creamy consistency could add a nut or coconut milk and of course the sweet tooths out there could add a touch of agave. I find that your taste buds change over time when you welcome in new ways of experiencing food and you come to really savor and enjoy the natural delicacy that things have in their pure forms.
I posted about my cocoa/cacao balls yesterday on Facebook and one of my friends was interested in acquiring some, since she likely wouldn’t make it to Grenada any time soon. I only knew how you could order The Grenada Chocolate Company organic, vegan dark chocolate bars, but didn’t know where the balls might be available. So I encouraged her to do a Google search and she found and shared a great source where anyone can enjoy these yummy balls at a reasonable price: Grenada Market. On the island you could get 6 bars on their own for $2 or $6 balls with nutmeg, bay leaf and cinnamon for $3. So the $5.99 isn’t bad considering. I’ll definitely be looking into getting more after my stash is out. :)
So, if you can’t get out on an exotic trip to The Isle of Spice, but still want to bring a little bit of the exotic into your life, you can still enjoy cacao delicacies such as these shared, straight from the island.
~ The title of this blog is dedicated to my best faery sister and friend, Laura Bruno, as I always get a giggly kick every time she says “Holy ____!” LOL! Love you Laura! It also brings back memories of our raw feasting in Northern California that included cacao bliss.
Posted on November 17, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged cacao, cacao balls, cocoa balls, cocoa or cacao, grenada, organic vegan chocolate, The Island of Spice, The Spice Isle. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.