Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride - page 2-3

Reviving the Ways of
Island Ancestors
Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride stays true to
Trinidad & Tobago tradition
With burgeoning demand comes a need to ramp up
facilities to accommodate that demand.
nd for the Trinidad & Tobago business known
as Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride, that
meant Astrida Saunders – who co-owns a
cocoa estate with her brothers that fuels the business
with raw materials – was going to need to do some
“We had to think up ways and means by which
we could produce at a faster rate,” she said. “As a
hobby, you use home-based equipment, but once
we started to look at supermarkets we had to think
about commercial equipment that could be adapted to
manufacture at a faster rate.”
Several years later, the company still works out of a
small workshop, but it’s totally mechanized and capable
of producing the required products in a timeframe that
corresponds with demand. The workshop is in Santa
Cruz, about 60 kilometers from the estate. Working
from Santa Cruz, Saunders said, provides easier access
to the markets for distribution.
A new facility could come in about a year or so,
because, Saunders said, “we are almost at a maximum”
in terms of what can be accomplished production-wise
in the existing set-up.
The main product is still traditional chocolate, though
the company’s research toward producing other items
that has generated positive feedback. Saunders drove
an initiative that’s added cocoa butter to the product
line, as well edible chocolates and a flavored liqueur.
“It was a quest for knowledge,” she said. “If something
is made, there has to be a process. Actually finding out
the process was difficult, because it wasn’t actually
done here locally or there wasn’t a school to tell you
‘OK, it is done this way’ or ‘It is done that way.’ So it
was trial and error and very costly, buying machinery
that didn’t work and buying again. I think I can build on
it now, because I do know how it is done.”
The company’s market is mainly local – in major
supermarkets and souvenir stores on both Trinidad
and Tobago – but there is significant demand from
overseas as well, because the items are sold to tourists
in souvenir shops and frequently transported to far-
flung areas around the world, particularly in areas
where there’s a significant
population of Caribbean
The chocolates mirror
the products traditionally
available in the Caribbean
region before the advent
When that occurred,
the traditional means of
producing the products
were lost, and the
younger generations are
now being reintroduced
to the original flavor of hot chocolate flavors.
“People really, really love that,” Saunders said. “Apart
from the fact that people are going all-natural or all-
organic, and this product is an all-natural product. This
is what, as a child, we knew.”
Saunders said people in her local community in Santa
Cruz participate weekly in the chocolate café, where
they come together on Saturdays and drink traditional
cocoa tea – which is made from shaving the cocoa
pod and brewing the shavings into a beverage – in
addition to sampling and
purchasing other products
made by the company.
“It is rewarding to see
the expressions on their
faces when they drink the
product,” she said.
Saunders’ older brother
and her two daughters
each work in the business,
along with one non-family
member. It has remained
Exotic Caribbean Mountain
Manufacturer of traditional
chocolates and cocoa
Trinidad and Tobago
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