It has a rich, nutty flavour, reminiscent of the taste of the bars produced at Belmont Estate in Grenada.
But this chocolate bar is made in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where the beans are also grown.
“The chocolate you are eating now is made from beans grown in St. Vincent. So, it is a very proud and exciting day for us all, Harry Marriott, chair of the St. Vincent Cocoa Company said at an event in Kingstown on Tuesday to launch the chocolate bar
He said that while growing cocoa remains the main focus of the company, he and Managing Director, Andrew Hadley, had always intended to make chocolate as soon as possible.
Machinery and equipment have been ordered with a view to setting up a small chocolate factory shortly, the executive announced.
“We already produce top-quality, fine-flavoured cocoa. We are about to produce great chocolate. We are so well placed, but we do need support from farmers, from retailers, from the community, from the press and most importantly of all, from our government. It is very much a team effort.”
Marriott said that making chocolate bars is a profitable business in its own right and also adds value.
“It is vital we are seen adding value here in St. Vincent, employing people, whenever possible,” Shearman said.
He said the local production of chocolate bar could be a boost to the nation’s tourism “by producing a product all Vincent can be proud of”.
The St. Vincent Cocoa Company is committed to creating an excellent cocoa industry locally by providing support for every cocoa farmer in St. Vincent and guaranteeing to by their cacao,” Marriott said.
“We are already providing jobs for 60 employees just within our company and with potentially many more to come,” he said, noting also the company’s cocoa nursery.
He said while this is a big investment, the company is confident because Lindt and Barry Callebaut “who are by far the biggest chocolate makers in the entire world have analysed our chocolate and they absolutely love it.
“And I have got personal contacts in the top of both of these companies and they both assured me that they will buy whatever we produce here. So, the fear that we will not be able to sell what we produce is completely unfounded,” Marriott said.
He said SVG has the perfect growing conditions, a knowledgeable support team, an excellent product, a guaranteed market and a well-funded business.
“A thriving cocoa industry could provide a huge number of jobs, excellent use of spare lands, and a welcome boost to our the country’s GDP and balance of payment,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar congratulated the St. Vincent Cocoa Company “for the production of excellent chocolate.
“As Minister of Agriculture, I am definitely proud. You know, when we visited Grenada four years ago when we were seeking assistance, we enjoyed a good chocolate there and I hoped that one day that I would be able to send chocolate to Grenada,” he told reporters at the event.