Friday, August 20, 2010

Grenada: Lori and Kelly's Big Adventure

Captain's Log: Day 9, Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got up this morning ready for a day of adventure. We were touring the chocolate factory (Belmont Estates) and the Rum Distillery (River Antwine). Instead of taking 4 public buses to get there because it is on the other side of the mountains, we opted for a cab. Kenzie called made arrangements and haggled a price and all was good. The taxi (an air conditioned van) showed up and off we went. WELL, what should have taken 45 minutes to an hour to get there took us 3 1/2 hours.........they usually drive really fast, scary fast and this guy, no lie........20 miles an hour and took us the longest route possible and took us to places we didn't ask for. Of course our price was negotiated on a per hour basis. Mackenzie was spitting mad......when we finally arrived at the chocolate factory she talked to him and negotiated a final price for the was awful. He never did speed up. He was older and watching him try to park......I think he had trouble judging distance. I'm going with that theory other than him just trying to take advantage...(although my gut tells me otherwise).
the cocoa bean drying racks

The chocolate factory was extremely interesting, they actually produce chocolate bars and have had a working estate for cocoa beans for about 300 years. They still use the old fashioned equipment and let's just say for both places we visited there is obviously no health department here. The chocolate is amazing though....because of the heat here they cannot use milk so it is all cocoa butter, cocoa beans and sugar.....and they only have three kinds. 60%  which has a somewhat bitter aftertaste and 70% which has a smoother dark chocolate taste. Their newest is called Nibs and it has little flecks of the cocoa bean in it and it was very yummy.

Our next stop was the distillery.....just like they have always done it. Smashing the sugar cane, old conveyeur belts, wood stoves......and they use recycled bottles so, they are in what most americans wouldn't ever consider a good shed, making rum, using a gott cooler to put it in the bottles and sealing them with a screw on Now I wanted to sample it but the smell alone caused me some discomfort, and we'll just leave it at that. : ) I still can't get over it, guys in there bare feet, bare hands, of course nothing to keep out the bugs producing a product that they can't even ship out of here because they can't keep up with production. OH - the final product.......70 % or higher of alcohol which makes it 150 proof or higher, but who's counting?
sugar cane

some sort of gadget that tests the alcohol percentage
the conveyor belt that moves the smashed cane
the one guy is stirring the molasses the other dipping by buckets to move it
yes, he's barefoot with his foot hanging over the edge of the vat
fermenting cane
Um hm, they take these bottles right out of these boxes and fill em with rum
the boiling vats
the production line
Very sophisticated bottling method

Then we took the LONNGGG trip home and went to eat.....chinese of all things...was ok. Then back to the resort for a swim.

grenadian sunset with unfortunate cloudiness

Even after the long day -
Life Is GOOD!

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