The Barefoot Chocolate Maker

Now for one of the good guys. 

A while back, I stumbled on an extraordinary story on the BBC's 'Food Program'.  It told of an engineer, a New Yorker called Mott Green, who moved to the Caribbean island of Grenada.  He fell in love with the island and the culture. He also found that although they grew cocoa beans there, for some reason they didn't make chocolate. 

In fact all the cocoa they grew was sold to the commodities market.  The growers made very little money, as all the value is in the final product - the chocolate on our confectionery shelves.  The program also mentioned another cocoa bean growing region - Africa's Ivory Coast. There, children are sold to the plantations, to work for years.  It's not a stretch to call it modern-day slavery. 

In Grenada, Mott wondered why they couldn't make the chocolate themselves, cut out the middle men and sell chocolate direct to the retailers.  He figured that if everyone was part of a collective, all that added value would benefit the locals. 

He put his engineering skills to work and built a solar-powered chocolate factory in Grenada, keeping it going with constant maintenance, and mastering the art of turning cocoa beans into chocolate.  In partnership with locals Doug and Edmond Browne, he set up the Grenada Chocolate Company, making fine chocolate to sell around the world. 

True to his environmental aspirations, the first batch of chocolate bars to be delivered made its journey from Grenada to the UK on a brigantine sailing ship - powered by the wind! 

But there's a tragic twist to this tale.  One night, while doing emergency maintenance, Mott was accidentally electrocuted.  Despite his tragic, untimely death, he has left an amazing legacy.  The Grenada Chocolate Company lives on, and more and more local growers are joining the collective as the customer base grows. 

Oh, and I can personally affirm - the chocolate is really good!

Listen here.

Find out more about the Grenada Chocolate Company

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