Tag Archives: Rum Distillery

Mount Cinnamon

Family Visitors in Grenada (a.k.a. “Spice Isle”) Part II – by Theresa

Following up our previous post, while Grenada is only 21 miles long, and 12 miles wide, there was still much to see and explore on the spice isle.

THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Diamond Chocolate FactoryWe continued our journey exploring Grenada with our knowledgeable local guide, Mr. Rawl Bell (“Rawl”), and our visiting guests, Randy’s sister Patti and her husband Chuck. Rawl informed us that no visit to Grenada would be complete without a trip to one of the island’s two (2) chocolate factories. It did not take much convincing to get us to agree. At the Diamond Chocolate Factory, we  learned how chocolate is made from bean to bar. Our guide escorted us to the Cocoa fields laden with Cocoa trees producing buds. Harvesting the cocoa pods is still done by hand. The cocoa pods are carefully broken open to release the cocoa beans, which are embedded in a moist, fibrous, white pulp. We had the opportunity to taste the cocoa beans right out of the pod!

In sum, the beans are then dried, fermented, mixed, and heated, with additional ingredients added depending on how the chocolate is to be used.

At the end of the guided tour, visitors are able to sample chocolates with varying degrees of cocoa (i.e. 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% &100%) and purchase all kinds of chocolate. It was not at all like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory, however, the sampling and purchases in the end were deliciously delightful.

DESTROYED RUSSIAN PLANES

Grenada is an island nation rich not only in spices, but richly steeped in history as well. In 1983, the U.S. launched Operation Urgent Fury, during which U.S.-led forces successfully defeated a threat posed to the United States and the Caribbean by the “Soviet-Cuban militarization” of Grenada. As we explored the island, we observed Russian planes, abandoned and destroyed, at the now closed Point Salines Airport.

We were pleased and proud to also see signs prominently displayed around the island thanking the U.S. for its part in liberating Grenada from the then untenable government.

THE RUM DISTILLERY

River Antoine Estates Rum Distillery

River Antoine Estates Rum Distillery

Exploring the Antoine River Estate Rum Distillery provided yet additional insight to the never ending beauty of the “Spice Isle,” its history and resourcefulness. To start, the distillery uses locally grown cane and a hydro-powered water wheel that has been operational since 1785! It was delectable tasting the fresh cut cane and then watching it go up the hydro-powered conveyor belt so that the sweet sugary juices could be squeezed out of the cane in the first step of the rum making process. The discarded cane remnants are then piled up and carted away for mulch. (To the gear-heads who want to see the hydro-powered water wheel in action, click on the video tab at the top of this page to view video of the wheel in motion.) Click on any picture to enlarge or for slide show.

The sugar cane juice is then transported to large vats in the boiling house, where it is boiled and then fermented. The fermented remnants then continue their journey through large distillery pots where locally gathered wood fuels the fire that heats the pots converting the fermented sugar cane juices into steam. The steam is subsequently cooled and reconstituted into the rum liquid that is bottled and sold throughout the island.

The vapors at the distillery were truly intoxicating! Like the chocolate factory, we were fortunate to taste a sampling of the final product at the end of tour.

GRAND ETANG

Our last spot of exploration with Rawl  took us through the rainforest around the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, to the focal point of the reserve, Grand Etang Lake. Grand Etang Lake fills the crater of one of the island’s extinct volcanoes and is located 1,800 feet (550 m) above sea level. The rainforest was fraught with tropical flowers that can only flourish in a rainforest.

Rawl Bell provided us with a fascinating tour of the island, one which none of us will soon forget.

Alas, the time came for Patti and Chuck to return to the states. We shared our farewell dinner at the elegant Mount Cinnamon Resort, on the south end of Grand Anse Beach. We were all sad to see Patti and Chuck leave, however, on our journey, there are no “good-byes,” only “until we meet again!” So, until we meet again …

Randy, Patton, Theresa, Patti, Chuck, Ronan and Ryan, Mount Cinnamon Resort

Randy, Patton, Theresa, Patti, Chuck, Ronan and Ryan, Mount Cinnamon Resort

Cliff Diver, Concord Waterfalls

Family Visitors in Grenada (a.k.a. “The Spice Isle”) Part I – by Theresa

Patti & Chuck at PLM beach, Carenage in the background

Patti & Chuck at PLM beach, Carenage in the background

My sister-in-law “Patti” recently asked me “When are you coming home?” I replied, “We are home. Home is where the boat is!” Upon hearing this, she decided that if she and her husband “Chuck” were going to visit us in the near future, then it was going to have to be on the boat. Since we are currently stationed in Grenada, she promptly made arrangements and within weeks we had the pleasure of hosting both Patti and Chuck on board the Pilot’s Discretion.

HASH HIKE

We wasted no time introducing them to our Grenadian adventures and on the first full day of their visit they accompanied us on our weekly hike. This week’s hike began on the north shore beach in Sauteaurs, continued up mountainsides, and did not disappoint in providing the usual vigorous exercise and spectacular views (click on any photo to enlarge or for slideshow).

GRAND ANSE BEACH

Having exerted ourselves on the hike, we opted to spend the next day relaxing on the beach.  First, some 50’s music, and dancing, at Coconuts, on Grand Anse Beach, and then dinner at The Aquarium Restaurant, Point Salines, at sunset.

CLIFF DIVING AT CONCORD WATERFALLS

With so much more to see and explore in Grenada, and only a short time to share with our guests, we chartered an air conditioned bus, with an experienced guide, Mr. Rawl Bell (“Rawl”). Rawl provided us with a wealth of  information regarding the beauties of Grenada, a.k.a. “The Spice Isle.” Our first stop was Concord Waterfalls, one of the countless natural waterfalls on the island.

The kids enjoyed playing on the rocks and we all enjoyed the natural beauty of the falls .

Shortly after our arrival at the falls, a local “cliff diver” climbed to the top of the falls and amazed us all with his daring cliff diving acumen.  It did not take long for my ever-adventuresome brother-in-law Chuck to dive in after him (click on any photo to enlarge or for slideshow).

(Note: We have created a dedicated YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com where we have compiled videos from our blog, and uploaded additional videos from our journey. To view the videos, including VIDEOS of Chuck, and the cliff diver, cliff diving, click https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC94z5hCIrRiEvY8MTJegTbA  (or copy and paste into browser).

NUTMEG FACTORY

Nutmeg Receiving Station (Examined, Weighed, Payment to Farmer

Nutmeg Receiving Station (Examined, Weighed, Payment to Farmer)

After the cliff diving adventures at the waterfalls, our guide informed us that Grenada is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg, after Indonesia, and that nutmeg is Grenada’s principal export crop. He then took us to the nutmeg-processing co-op, in the center of the west-coast fishing village of Gouyave (pronounced gwahv), where we got to witness first hand the nutmeg process from tree to spice. There we saw locally grown nutmeg being received, examined & weighed with payments made to the local farmers. We learned the nutmeg is then dried in drying racks for 6-8 weeks.

 

Once dried, the seeds are cracked by a machine and then sent down a chute to the floor below where workers manually separate the shells from the nuts. No resource is wasted and discarded shells are collected in burlap sacks and sold for mulch. The nutmeg fragrance at the factory is intoxicating.

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Next, nutmeg kernels are graded by floating them in water (sinkers are sound and floaters are defective). Workers then hand grade the remaining nutmeg, removing residual defects and running the remaining nutmeg through metal graders (for size). The final nutmeg product is bagged in hand painted stenciled burlap sacks with international destinations throughout the world. We were surprised to learn that Rotterdam and Antwerp are the two largest importers of Grenadian nutmeg. The factory produces approximately 3 million pounds of Grenada’s most famous export each year.

A lot of effort for a small, yet delicious, spice present in almost all spice racks!

LEATHERBACK TURTLES IN LEVERA BAY

After the nutmeg factory, we visited yet another notorious spot on Grenada, Levera Bay. Levera Bay is a Sanctuary to the endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle. Each year, Leatherback Sea Turtles return to Grenada to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of Levera Bay.

Leatherback Sea Turtles can grow to more than six feet long, weighing as much as 1400 pounds, however, the initial hatchlings, only inches long, are left on their own to find their way from the beach to the sea. Due to a recent invasion of Sargasso Sea weed on Grenada’s coastline, the baby Leatherback Sea Turtles have been finding it difficult to reach the sea. On the day that we arrived in Levera Bay, the Park Rangers were assisting this group of baby Leatherback Sea Turtles in reaching the sea!

(To view a video of the baby Leatherback Back Sea Turtles click the “VIDEOS” tab at the top of this page.)

After all the excitement exploring Grenada, we stopped to rest, enjoying some local cuisine on the north shore of Grenada looking out over “Kick em Jenny,”  and Ronde and Caille Islands.

Chuck, Patti, Ronan and Ryan, lunch on the north shore

Chuck, Patti, Ronan and Ryan, lunch on the north shore

There was still much more of Grenada to explore … however, we will leave those adventures until another post!