Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride - page 4-5

that way in order to protect the
traditional family recipes, she said.
The would-be expansion in a year’s
time would necessitate the addition
of more machinery and more
personnel, but she said a project of
that scale would not be something
that could easily be copied.
Within five years, she’s expecting a
more sizable international presence
– and a significant volume increase
for the cocoa butter product in
“The growth is only due to
the demand,” she said. “There is
a demand locally and there is a
demand internationally, and we want
to be able to fit that demand. People are requesting the
product out there and we want to get it out there. The
quality is really great.
“A year ago it was a project. And I’m happy to
say that the project has evolved into the business.”
The family began by reaching back into the estate’s
history to restart a chocolate-making tradition that had
begun among the estate’s slave labor population. The
chocolate made by the slaves had never been sold as
a commercial product and it was no longer available in
the local market.
“There were not many people locally that were
doing anything with cocoa beans at that time,” Saunders
said. “We were one of the pioneers into trying to get
something more from cocoa than selling and exporting
the beans.”
The business initially sold the chocolates – shaped in
the form of a cocoa pod or fruit – to local souvenir
shops. It was a home-based souvenir business at first,
but the buzz surrounding the products soon grew
and ultimately drew the interest of local supermarkets
interested in getting involved.
Various ministries soon got word of the products as
well, which prompted orders from the government
to have the products available for island-based events
such as conferences and trade shows.
“Itwas almost immediate that the traditional chocolate
became an item,” Saunders said. “I was a bit surprised,
because it started off as just sort of a hobby to earn
some extra income. And it has turned into a business.
It has grown beyond the hobby stage.”
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