Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Belmont Estate

By Kathy

For our first few weeks here we planned to have a car to get around the island to see some of the sights. One afternoon we decided to visit the Belmont Estate and the River Rum Distillery. You have already read about the River Run Distillery so this one will be about our trip to the Belmont Estate. This will also be a joint post with Emma (The Sailing Llama). I will write about the estate and she will write about their most popular crop. 

The estate was only 20 miles away but it would take us about a little over an hour to get to the estate. Why?? You have to go over the mountainous island through a rainforest on a road that is not quite made for two cars. It was a white knuckle experience the whole way.

The estate was established in the late 1600’s and has changed ownership throughout the years from French, to Scottish, to British,  to current owners the Nyacks who are one of the first Grenadians of Indian decent to own an estate. It has been in their family since 1944. It is a working estate that produces chocolate, nutmeg, goat cheese, fruits and vegetables. Today they employ 90 people. In the past the estate has also produced coffee, cotton and sugar cane.

If you would like to read more details on the history of the estate click here

We arrived at the estate not really knowing what to expect. We had read about tours on TripAdvisor that were pretty expensive. So we were planning to do a self-guided tour. When we arrived we were greeted by Kelly one of the employees on the estate. He said they offer tours for $15EC per adult and $5EC per kid which would equal about $17 US for all of us. This was a much lower price than we read about online. We are quickly learning to hire a local guide once you reach your destination in Grenada. Kelly was an amazing guide and he was great with the kids asking them questions and making sure they were part of the tour. 

The estate is really beautiful.

The first part of the tour was around their gardens. They produce enough fruits and vegetables to be able to sell small boxes of fresh produce to local restaurants and their own restaurant on the estate. Keep in mind that island restaurants are much smaller than what we are used to in the states. It can simply be the owner as the only employee on a roadside restaurant so a small box of fresh vegetables goes a long way. Kelly told us a lot about some of Grenada’s wonderful fruits, herbs and vegetables. We had lots of taste testing with passion fruits, sour fruits, herbs, nutmeg and cocoa beans. He even loaded our backpack with samples to take home. Their primary crop is cocoa beans and you can read all about this very important crop here on Emma’s Blog. She will tell you all about the cocoa pod and how it is turned into some amazing chocolate. 

Touring the gardens.

Sam trying a passion fruit.

Learning about the garden from Kelly.

Dan trying the cocoa bean fruit.

Our loot from the garden! Some lemongrass, nutmeg, basil, bergamot, bananas, and guava. 

We really had no idea so much went into making chocolate.  After our chocolate tour we then toured more of the estate. We met the resident talking bird whose name we have forgotten but the boys and Dan mimic his talking all of the time. 

It is hard to see the little green bird in the cage but you sure could hear him. 

They also have some turtles and goats. The kids were able to pick up some of the baby turtles. I have no idea why they have turtles but the kids loved holding them.

The bottom of one of the bigger turtles. 

The goats are imported from North Carolina and used to make goat cheese for the estate. The kids were able to feed the goats.  

We sampled some more sour fruit and then concluded our tour. 

Emma waiting to see what Jack thinks of the sour fruit. 

Emma and Dan thought it was pretty sour. 

It was a wonderful interactive tour and we learned so much! Thank you Kelly and Belmont Estates. 

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