Mott Green, founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company, died in a tragic accident on June 1, 2013. The news of his untimely death quickly spread around Grenada, and we were all in shock. I had only met him once, about 10 years ago, but that encounter, and experiencing his passion and dedication to chocolate, has stayed with me.
I was a fourth-form student on a field trip with my French class when I visited the Grenada Chocolate Factory for the first time. After about an hour and a half on a bus, we arrived at what appeared to be someone’s house in Hermitage, St. Patrick. It didn’t look like much of a factory to me, but the unmistakable aroma of cocoa that filled the air was a strong indication that there was something chocolatey happening inside — that, and the brightly painted cocoa pods on the side of the building, of course.
Mott Green met us at the entrance to the factory and led us on a tour to discover Grenada Chocolate. He seemed more excited than we were, and while he explained the chocolate-making process to us, from the drying and roasting of the cocoa bean to the packaging of the finished bar, I understood why. The little solar-powered chocolate factory fascinated me. Green had built or refurbished most of the machinery himself, and had set up a system where the cocoa farmers and chocolate makers benefited equally. As I stood with my classmates and looked at the finished bars, I realized the significance of what was in front of me. This wasn’t Grenadian cocoa that had been sent abroad and returned to us in fancy packaging. This was our own Grenadian chocolate, made in Grenada from Grenadian cocoa, and even though I wasn’t yet a big fan of the rich, dark chocolate taste, I was still proud.
As I got older, my appreciation for the chocolate grew. As much as I’d like to believe that my palate had finally grown up and become more refined, I think it was really because we had all started to recognize how good the chocolate was. Restaurants incorporated Grenada Chocolate into their desserts, and supermarkets kept their shelves stocked with it. A local ice cream company transformed its regular chocolate ice cream into Grenada Chocolate ice cream, and those dark chocolate bars never failed me as a hostess gift wherever I traveled.
Every time I returned to Washington, D.C., after a trip home, there were a few items that always returned with me: a bottle of green seasoning, honey, two bottles of rum, an assorted bag of groundnut sugar cake, fudge and tamarind balls, and a dozen bars of Grenada Chocolate. I loved handing out chocolate to my friends and co-workers. It was a little piece of home that I knew they would enjoy, and I felt proud to be able to share that with them. Now that I’m living in Grenada again, there is always a bar of chocolate not so well hidden in the fridge, tempting my Dad and me to sneak a piece when Mom isn’t looking!
Thank you, Mott, for sharing your passion for chocolate with that eager group of 15-year-olds so many years ago. You showed us that it was possible to produce fine chocolate right here in Grenada, and in so doing, you helped revitalize the cocoa industry.
Life is precious, so let’s savour each moment, starting with a bite of delicious Grenada Chocolate.
* If you’re interested in learning more about Mott Green’s story, Nothing Like Chocolate is a documentary film about his quest to create the best chocolate in the world from a little chocolate factory in the mountains of Grenada. See the trailer here. *