Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grenada Chocolate Festival's Fifth Annual Chocolate Extravaganza

Last Saturday bliss.
On Saturday afternoon through the early night, near Grand Anse Beach, Camerhogne Park was popping.
The DJ was playing great tunes like Sia's reggae influenced "Cheap Thrills" and Black Panther soundtrack gem Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar's "Pray For Me” blaring loud and free. Colorful cacao pods on giant leaves were settled on cut grasses forming a tempting path to festivities. The smell of chocolate perfumed the subtle breezy air with its sweet, decadent scent no manufacturer could authentically match. Adults and children alike were entertained by the various delights each tent offered under the pleasant trees shading us all from the mild warmth of sun and its radiant light. 

While the royal wedding happened somewhere in Europe, a mom/photographer was sporting a beautiful headwrap and a Coming to America t-shirt featuring Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy, right) and Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley, left).
I relished the euphoric spirit in great abundance.
I spoke with other artists like the poet Word, who later performed her chocolate poem onstage. I cracked open cacao shells, poured fine cacao particles into the red handled grinder (similar to the one at House of Chocolate), and ground them into chocolate paste. I then scraped it onto hands and balled it continuously, forming a rounded shape like the ones used for tea. At last, I sampled pure chocolate, raw and unadulterated bitterness, grainy and perfect straight from the tree.

Hands that rolled actual cacao.
Between events, the gorgeous hostess donned chocolate fabric stage in a splendid necklace made out of cacao beans that enhanced the bright red of her chic knee length dress and nude heel sandals.
I was fortunate to meet Aaron Sylvester. He inherited a cacao farm from his grandparents and uses the land to create a new line of chocolate bars in Crochu. The vegan chocolate, which is 80% dark chocolate sweetened with cane sugar, is created in St. Mark's, a town in Victoria, Grenada that has the highest mountain and waterfall on the island. Sylvester believes that the Dark Chocolate will bring business to the region.
The cacao pod makes cacao nibs, cocoa, and dried cocoa beans.
Cocoa tea has become a new favorite.
At Dodgy Dock's tent, they served one vegan dish-- a hearty, delicious three bean chocolate chili with crispy tortilla chips on the side. Before granting me my plate, the server had said, "you're going to love this." And he was right.
Cacao pod and cacao bean decor. 
Artist Stacey Byer had a great activity-- acrylic painting on smooth, stone rocks. She had hand drawn a cacao pod with black marker. Content children and adults created masterpieces together.
Also in the kids activity tent, attendees were welcome to roll cacao grounds.
And work on a joint mural with cacao pods opened and closed.
Ta da! The completed mural. The original artist's work is lighter versus the group effort's intensive contrast.
There was the chocolate photo booth inviting guests to pose with a pal. One couldn't take a picture alone in the chocolate photo booth. However, as seen in the first picture of this post, a Grenada Chocolate Festival team member teamed up with me. I will be grateful for that.
One of the prizes up for chocolate auction-- a chocolate spa package (choosing three of several seductive body treats) at Blue River Spa sounded like a merry dream-- a chocolate facial, a chocolate body wrap, a mocha body scrub, a cocoa bath soak, a chocolate pedicure, a chocolate manicure for one person in one day. I will live vicariously through the winner of this exceptional luxury.
The fashion show was incredible! I wished to have the names of designers and models of this great showing of local talent, but alas have no details. Regardless, it was a brilliant success that showcased an homage to the endless branches of Diaspora narrative.
It started off with the Princess Collection-- cool blues and eloquent patterns (which has complimentary orange in this African paisley rendering) in a collection that weaves a beautiful tale about a woman's distinctive prowess in the fashion arena.

This is the sleek, sophisticated designer of the Princess Collection. Isn't she just a vision?
A stunning design was this showstopping elegant gown and crown made of dried cocoa leaves.
The entire cocoa leaf collection with designer.
This designer (second center in a gorgeous two fabric patterned dress and winning smile) was inspired by Grenada's nutmeg, featured on their state flag. This stunning collection stylizes the weight of symmetric lines and amping up beige with bold red and graphic black.
Inspired by a romantic fairy tale, this designer (on the far left with funky red hair. polka dot blue dress, and black ankle booties) her collection is heroic and dynamic with elements of Orientalism, power, and may I say Amazonian like Wonder Woman? I appreciated the dresses for women of all shapes and sizes.
With the image that inspired it all, I hope to return again next year and experience the whole breadth of this festival. I had such an amazing, informative, intriguing, insatiably gratifying time, learning and exploring the creative sides of cacao/chocolate. It goes beyond my own perception, my own thoughts prior to the long, anticipated journey. I have enjoyed meeting so many people influenced by chocolate. I have been taught its impact on their lives on other levels. There are countless narratives eager to be told. One must come to their spaces and listen as a person of understanding and not a foreigner desiring to take without gifting something in return. 


  1. Chocolate chili? Yes, please! I saw a meme of that Coming to America photo with “This is the only royal wedding I care about”, which I found funny. I like your photo booth pics! The whole event looked really fun :)

    1. Oh yes! I have seen that sane hilarious meme. Pretty sure that's why that women wore it. After all, the chocolate festival was held hours after the big royal wedding lol. Still,I had a great time and want to come back next year! Thanks for your kind compliments,Beverlee! I appreciate them.

  2. It looks like an amazing day and I almost feel like I was there!
    I really like the mural. And I love the fashions!!

    1. Awww! I'm happy that you feel that way. There was so much to take in during 3 1/2 hours. I liked the mural and the styles as well. Grenada is certainly full of creative spirit!