Monday, 1 June 2015

Grenada; Spice Island Paradise - part 1

When I was invited to visit Grenada by the Grenada Tourist Authority I really didn’t know what to expect. Grenada is one of three islands along with Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Grenada is also known as The Spice Island and this was a dream of mine to visit and pick my own spices.

I had been to The Caribbean before, visiting Barbados many times which is why I expected it to be more or less the same. It was similar but nowhere near the same!

I had been told by friends who had been there before that it would be a life changing visit and how they were right!  I want to give you a brief account of my visit and will go into greater details about some of the places we visited in subsequent blog posts the subjects of which are highlighted in red below (hopefully you will be waiting with baited breath for the next installments!).

Time seemed to stand still whilst we (Mr R was able to come with me) waited for the day to arrive for our trip and the prospect of a long flight was not a pleasant idea but you have to experience some of what you don’t like to find paradise and Grenada is truly an island paradise.

The main purpose of our trip was to experience all the island had to offer and coincided with The 2nd Annual Grenada Chocolate Festival, however we arrived a few days before the festival started which gave a chance to experience more island hospitality.

We were greeted at the airport with platters of Grenadian chocolate and a hint of the smiles and hospitality to come.
The first three nights we stayed at Blue Horizons, a stunning property owned and managed by a family whose roots were in the hospitality business for many years.  The Blue Horizons is a series of detached and semi-detached self-contained villas.  Ours was up a path, quite steep for my liking, but you are rewarded when you got to the villa by spectacular views of the surrounds.  We stayed for three nights enjoying a breakfast menu which highlighted the fresh fruit and local ingredients we would get so used to by the time we departed the island.
One evening the owner, Mr Arnold Hopkin, entertained us to a meal at the restaurant on the premises, La Belle Epoque.  Arnold kept us entertained with stories of island life including the hurricane Ivan in 2004 which almost decimated the island.
Our itinerary was jam packed, and on the day following arrival we embarked on an island tour that even the most intrepid travellers would have been exhausted at the end.

We visited Concord Waterfall, nestled on the way up an extremely windy, narrow road.  Concord is one of 7 natural waterfalls on Grenada.
Second stop was the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station.  Grenada is the second largest producer of nutmeg in the world and one of the main reasons I was excited about this trip.  I wanted to pick my own nutmeg off the tree which I would get the chance to do in our second week.
First all of the farmers send their nutmeg to the processing station followed a few weeks later by the mace.  Mace is a lesser known spice that grows around the nutmeg inside the nutmeg fruit but more of that later in the nutmeg blog post.

I have never seen so much nutmeg in my life (in fact I usually only see a row of 6-8 bottles of 4 nutmegs in the supermarkets at any one time!) but here was hundreds and hundreds of thousands of nutmegs in one place and from only one month’s harvest!

Back to our transport and a tour of Crayfish Bay Organic Farmers Enterprise awaited us. Owner Kim Russell and his wife Lylette welcomed us to their property and Kim took us on a slightly shortened tour as we were running late, giving us cocoa farming in a cocoa shell (small joke there) and finishing with a drink of cocoa tea and the most chocolatey chocolate cake I have ever tasted!  
I planned to return to Crayfish Bay to take part in the Bean to Bar – be a cocoa farmer for a day program later on in the chocolate festival which I will go into detail later.
The next stop was the River Antonine Rum Distillery, a rum plantation still extracting, fermenting and distilling in the old fashioned way and producing the strongest rum I have ever tasted.  
The 75% abv was so strong that you cannot export it as the airlines won’t accept anything that flammable on board!  They make a slightly weaker product 63% abv for export although most of their rum is consumed on the island!
All this and it was still our first full day on the island!

The following day we set out for the Aquatics Grenada Dive Centre to depart to the Underwater Sculpture Park we would spend the morning snorkeling around.  The water was warm, beautiful blue and so clear we could see loads of local fish on our way to the sculptures.
Lunch stop was in the centre of St Georges, the island capital, at BB’s Crab Back, sitting right on the waterside with a pleasant off-shore breeze to keep us cool.  The food was great and I want to go into more detail on my restaurant round-up so please forgive me for not indulging you with photos of our delicious lunch.
After a quick shower and change we departed our hotel, for dinner and a chocolate buffet at Sandals La Source Grenada.  Sandals, a luxury couples resort well known in the Caribbean hosted us in their Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant Kimonos where we were treated to food theatre Japanese style and where the audience got to eat the theatre creations!
The chocolate buffet is a Thursday night entertainment feature of Sandals where the guests are asked to wear white if possible.  I was lucky enough to have loads in my wardrobe to pick from – my mother always insisting that we have a white collection when we traveled to hot climates!  Mr R and I had lovely chocolate martinis which the photo shows we were enjoying immensely!

Our next stop was a visit around St George’s and it’s environs before returning to our hotel to make the transfer to the Chocolate Festival host hotel, True Blue Bay Resort.  The afternoon we chilled our in our nearest pool then got ready for the opening of the 2nd annual Grenada Chocolate Festival.
I was a guest of the Grenada Tourist Authority and was not required to write a positive review, only to enjoy myself.  As usual all opinions and photos are my own or taken by Mr R unless otherwise stated.


  1. What a wonderful experience - I remember visiting Trinidad and seeing all the spices growing on the trees, and thinking how amazing it all was! This looks like a wonderful trip, Karen

    1. It was a dream come true especially picking my own nutmeg off the tree!

  2. Being the spice lover that I am, Grenada is top of my to visit list. I will make it there very soon.

  3. Wow, what an incredible trip Heidi! I am more than a little jealous, ever since seeing a spice program on Channel 4 I have been fascinated with nutmeg and mace. Can't wait to see your other posts too
    Janie x

  4. The colour of the nutmeg and the mace on the cocoa plantation floor is so immense!