A Postcard from the Spice Island, Grenada, in the Caribbean
Greetings from Grenada, a most gorgeous island tucked in the Southern Caribbean. The spice island, where the trees are rich with nutmeg, bright with cloves, heavy with cocoa pods and lined with cinnamon bark. It all sounds perfect, right?
Well, it was, until salmonella came knocking on my door. Before I arrived in Grenada, I must stress. Joyfully, it kicked in at the start of my 10 hour flight. I felt so weird, freezing cold, then hot, so ill, and I could tell that something grim was incoming. Have you ever had it? I have had norovirus and shellfish food poisoning in the past but this is brutal, and I am only starting to feel human now. On the last day. I know. But I have seen a lot in between the waves of distress.
Earlier in the week I returned to the Nutmeg Processing Factory and it was a joy. The smells, the sights, it is like travelling back in time. Based in Gouyave, a Grenada town famed for fish and nutmeg, this small green factory backs on to the beach and palm trees tickle the windows while the sea laps outside.
Factory feels a strong word, there is no automation here and everything is done by hand. The fruit is removed to reveal the nutmeg and mace (a red vein like covering), and both are dried separately. The nutmeg on long wooden tables, where they are raked regularly to make sure they dry evenly. Then they pass downstairs to be graded and sorted into sacks. There is more to this, of course, but they are rightfully protective of their process. Sold in the shell, Grenada nutmeg is potent and aromatic. It is used a lot here in all sorts of food and drink, even as a medicine (called Nut-Med).
With thanks to the Grenada Tourism Authority who sponsored my trip.