Belmont Estates

We went to Belmont Estates the other day which I have always wanted to visit as I’ve heard wonderful things about it.  Belmont Estates is a 17th century plantation which has exquisite gardens, cocoa processing plant, a fabulous restaurant, and a goat cheese dairy farm.

First we took a little tour of the plantations history and how they make cocoa.  I was surprised to learn what cocoa actually comes from which has no resemblance to chocolate at all.

Here’s a picture of a cocoa pod which is grown locally here:

Cocoa pod with cocoa beans in them

A cocoa pod hacked open

If you’ll notice, inside the pod there are a bunch of little white coated beans.  And actually, if you just put one in your mouth before processing, it has an acidic taste to it.  For the love, don’t bite into it yet because they’re not fermented and processed, and the bitter taste will overwhelm you.

So after they gather all the pods, hack them open and take out all the white beans, they put them on a straining table which helps take all the white goo off.  Then they put all the beans in fermenting chambers that look like this:


Cocoa beans fermenting

They have about 10 chambers like this, and every 1-2 days they manually shovel all the cocoa beans into the chamber next to it so that they are turned over and stirred.  After 10 days of fermentation, the beans are brought out to dry in the sun.

To the left is where they are placed to dry in the sun

Taking the cocoa beans out of the fermentation chambers

Spreading out the cocoa beans

After the beans are spread, every 30 minutes women walk through the beans to turn them while they dry in the sun.  And if it starts down pouring, as it often does in Grenada, the workers have to slide those roofs over the cocoa beans so they do not get soaked!

Another picture of where the cocoa beans are dried

After they are in the sun, they are shipped off to the chocolate factory to make some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted.

Grenadian Chocolate factory

The Belmont Estates is owned by the Nyack family, and Dr Nyack happens to be a veterinary professor at SGU.


This bell is over 300 years old

After our tour and eating some samples of cocoa (which comes in 60%, 70%, or 80%), we decided to go eat lunch at the restaurant there.  I’ve already posted about the food in the post below, but let me reiterate, it was a delicious three course meal.

The view at lunch

I was pretty excited about it.

If you ever have a chance to taste real cocoa, I’d highly recommend it.   In fact, if anyone wants me to bring back cocoa balls for them to make hot cocoa with, I’d be happy to do so.  It’s the best I’ve ever tasted!


The finished product, cocoa balls!

It’s true, they are superior spices, hence why Grenada gets the name the “Spice island”!

Sleep ’til you’re hungry, eat ’til you’re sleepy.

Since I have a lot of pictures of our adventures, I’m going to attempt to organize these posts.  Today’s post will be about all the food we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks.  I’d suggest you eat something before reading this, because after, you’re going to be drooling all over yourself.  At least get yourself a bib to catch your drool!

From the Ladies on the field, nothing but delicious

That would be chicken, salad, macaroni pie, provision and potato salad from the field near our house.  This is probably some of my favorite Grenadian food.

We went to La Boulangerie one day, which is an italian-ish restaurant that serves delicious pastas and pizzas.

Ting, a delicious grapefruit drink.

La Bou Pizza, mmm

I have recently fallen in love with La Bou Lasagna

One morning we decided to go to the Southside where Sue cooked us breakfest.  As far as I’m concerned, this is some of the best breakfast I’ve ever had!  She takes the toast and makes fried toast.  Which is basically toast that is fried in bacon/sausage grease.  And oh my god, is it delicious!  You take a bite, and it just melts in your mouth with the sweet release of bacon.

Southside breakfast!

I was pretty excited about a Southside breakfast

IGA veggies, corn, macaroni pie, and chinese chicken!

Above is from IGA grocery store.  Now, you may be thinking that it’s like typical grocery store deli food.  But it is not!  The meat falls right off the bone, cooked to perfection.  And I’m really addicted to Macaroni pie, there’s just something about it.  At the IGA grocery store, supposedly the chef there works at a 5 star restaurant in addition to the grocery store.

Below is a new restaurant that is on the Grand Anse Beach.  It opened within the last few months.  I originally thought that it was going to be overpriced, but I was pleasantly surprised with the reasonable prices and the amazing food!  We went there a few times while my Mom was visiting.  And oh, they have sweet potato fries, which are my favorite!  They don’t always have them available, but when they do, they are so worth it!

Nachos from the GODS!

Carricou love bites, bbq wings, and sweet potato fries!

Above are my favorite sweet potato fries.  But also, Carricou love bites, which are fresh fried fish in a fluffy beer batter.  And the barbecue wings, they are fried and then dipped in this sweet sauce.  As always in Grenada, the meat just falls right off the bone!

Aquarium's salad bar

We went to the Aquarium last Sunday to their beach barbecue.  It’s a beautiful restaurant that is right on the beach, in between some natural huge cliff rocks.  And on Sundays, they have a barbecue where they serve right off the grill while people enjoy the ocean and live music!

Fresh off the grill lobster - The Aquarium

Aquarium rib-eye steak

Aquarium dessert

The food at the Aquarium is tasty, as always.  But I have to say that I like the Beach house desserts better than the Aquarium.  Above is what we had for dessert, cappuccinos and Creme Caramel.  Being an instant lover of anything caramel, I went for the Creme Caramel.  It wasn’t that good, it had an odd consistency.  But Neal and my Mom really enjoyed their cappuccinos.

Carib & Coca cola

The next day we went to the Southside for dinner.  And above is Carib beer, which is produced here.  It tastes a little bit like Kokanee.  I may be a poor judge of beer, as all beers taste similar to me.  And also, above you will notice that Grenada produces it’s own Coca Cola!  This is unlike the Coke you’ll find in the States, it tastes better.  Instead of using artificial sweetening, they use real sugar cane.  Much like the Coca cola’s I loved in Mexico.

Southside Garlic Bread

Fried chicken and fries with vinegar

Everything Sue makes at the Southside is scrumptious.  Her beer batter is exceptionally fluffy and light.

Catch of the day sandwich and sweet potato fries

We went back to Umbrellas one last time.  Above is the fresh catch of the day fish sandwich, I believe it was mahi mahi.  Along with a tequila sunrise drink and as always, sweet potato fries!

Split pea soup and Pumpkin soup with Ginger Beer

Two days ago, we went to Belmont Estates which will have it’s own separate post.  It’s where cocoa is made and is simply breath taking.  We enjoyed lunch there, which was an excellent 3 course meal.  The soups don’t look like much, but they were delish! And Ginger Beer is my new favorite drink.  I don’t believe it’s alcoholic, and it has a sweet ginger-y zing to it, and leaves your stomach feeling great.

Belmont Buffet

Belmont Estates has a buffet style three course meal.  Above you’ll find traditional foods of Grenada which includes chicken, rice, provision, salad, curried beef (my personal favorite), and Callaloo.  I have mixed feelings about Callaloo, but I do eat it because I feel wonderful after eating it.   The ingredients are something like callaloo leaves, onions, garlic and other spices which are boiled cook down to a, well, mush.  The texture takes some time getting used to, and the sight of it isn’t very appealing, but it has a very high nutritional value with high fiber and iron.

Dessert made from real cocoa at Belmont Estates

Now, let me preface this with, I’m not a huge chocolate fan.  I like it, but usually I prefer it with other things like almonds or peanuts.  But there is nothing in this world that is like real cocoa.  It is to die for!  So it wouldn’t be a trip to Belmont Estates without a taste of their delectable cocoa ice cream or chocolate mousse.

That is all of the food for now.  Look back soon for more updates about the past few weeks.

Mister Belvedere’s paradise is my insanity

Here’s a picture of Mister Belvedere (and Neal’s arm), and it’s living proof that Mister Belvedere loves finals.  Not only does he get to lay in my spot while I study away day and night for 3 weeks straight.  But it also means that I have a lot of papers (and junk) on my side of the bed, which ultimately, I sleep on as well.  Except Mister Belvedere loves sleeping on paper a lot more than I do.  I’m basically the cliche of insanity during finals:  papers strewn about everywhere, hair is a mess, and a shimmer of craziness in my eyes.  But Mister Belvedere, well, it’s his paradise.

I’m still winding down after this most recent hell-of-a-term, and it’s 2 weeks post finals!  (Or 3? 1.5? I don’t remember.)

In other news:  I finally found a cat that likes to cuddle with me.

Nala loves to cuddle with me

Jam De Christmas

A Grenadian lawn mower, mooo

Vacation has been wonderful!  We hope that everyone had a great Christmas.  I know I promised I’d post more, but really, Neal and I have just been relaxing on the beach everyday all day.  It’s a rough Caribbean life, and it’s exhausting doing nothing all day long.

We have gone into St. George’s a few times to explore. Have I ever explained Reggae buses?  Well if I haven’t, let me remind you.  They are buses that pick up people along the side of the road, they can fit about 16 people, but the other day, we were in one that crammed 18 people in one bus.  Most of the time they are blasting reggae music, but lately since it’s the holidays, they are blasting reggae Christmas music.  Rarely we’ll hear a classic Christmas song like Jingle Bell Rock or something like that, but most of the time, it’s reggae Christmas music that almost always contains Rum or Whiskey.  If you’re really curious about the music, here’s a particular favorite of mine that we heard the other day.

Anyway, back to the Reggae buses, these buses fly through the island, slamming on breaks occasionally if they think that a person on the side of the road wants a ride.  Occasionally, they’ll even throw the van in reverse and drive backwards in hopes of jamming another person in the bus.  Usually they have a person (I think they’re called “Conductors”, correct me if I’m wrong), that sticks his head out the window and hollers at people asking if they want a ride and collects the money.  I spend a lot of time in the buses with my head near the window trying not to get car sick.

I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how much decorations the Grenadians put up for Christmas.  Everywhere we went, there were Christmas lights and tinsel.  We were in a mall in St. George’s earlier this week and we found this snow man:

A snowman made out of cups!

Neal and I then stumbled upon this little place near Fort George, which we sat on the benches and enjoyed watching the storm roll in.

The Caribbean's only natural deep water harbor

Caribbean Princess and the Aliva visiting Grenada

Pictures don't do it justice

The above is food we’ve been living off of.  We live near a big field in Grand Anse, and there are some ladies that put up a tent and sell delicious food.  You can get either Stewed pork (mm, my favorite), baked chicken, variety of fish, and with that, you get macaroni pie, salad, potato salad and rice.  It is delicious.  All that for 12 EC (roughly about $5 US) and it’s enough for two meals for me.  I am addicted to this stuff.

The pork, mmm.

Also, I’ve always seen these people selling corn straight off a grill on the side of the road.  I’ve been a little skeptical about it, but I do love corn on the cobb.  So the other day, I finally got one for myself.  It’s interesting.  After I finished it, I decided I liked it.  It takes like, well, burned corn.  It’s chewy.  But after I smeared some butter and salt on it, I really actually enjoyed it.

Interesting corn

Since it was Christmas yesterday, naturally, Neal and I went to the beach.  The waves were pretty big, so we enjoyed getting thrown around in the ocean.  We also decided to make a Snowman, Excuse me, a Sandman.  Toasty, the Sandman to be exact.

Hello, Caribbean Sea

Toasty the Sandman!

Red flag = big waves

Neal also went and caught a whole bunch of King crab the other day, which we have been eating ever since.  And let me tell you, nothing is quite as delicious as fresh caught food from the ocean!


In other news, our apartment has turned into a menagerie of cats.  Not only do we have Mister Belvedere, but we’re also looking after my roommates cat, Cooper, and my other friends cat, Nala.

Nala, she likes to eat toilet paper.

They're enjoying vacation too

That’s about all the updates I have for now.  My Mom is coming in a few days, and we’re going to take her to the Rum factory, Belmont Estates, the Nutmeg factory, Fort George, and Mt. Qua Qua to see the monkeys.  Look for more updates soon!

I am finished with 5th term, with only one more term left here on the island and then I am homeward bound.  Neal and I have decided to stay in Grenada for our last Christmas here.  So check back here often to see what we’re up to.   We’ve got some plans to explore the island.

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

Picture update

Elliot & Stephanie's Wedding

Matt, me Elliot, Mom, Grandma, & Agatha

Neal's walking me down the aisle

Jess, me, & Steven - the best surgery group I could ask for!

My first neuter

Here’s some pictures for your enjoyment.  Starting at the top are some pictures from this last summer when my brother got married.  And ending are two from this term — my surgery team and my first castration.  (Which went awesome – by the way)

Midterms are in a week, and I have a final on Monday.  I will do my best to update after midterms.  Maybe I can even persuade Neal to post an update.  He’s quite the busy fellow, enjoying the Caribbean and all.

Steady feet, don’t fail me now

Hello from Grenada!

I’m back and in fifth term.  I’ve been in school for about three weeks now and today (in an hour and a half!), I’m doing my first neuter.  I haven’t been able to update because I’m usually on campus for about 12 hours a day.  It’s going to be a hectic year, as usual, but the real difference is that what we’re doing now is mostly practical work.  Such as going to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, doing neuters and spays, and rectal palpation in cows.

It’s all quite terrifying.  And whoever says it’s not, is lying! When I’m not excited, I’m anxious, and when I’m not anxious, I’m dying of sleep exhaustion.

Speaking of sleep exhaustion, since I have my very first neuter today, I slept about 3 hours last night.  Waking up about every 30 minutes drenched in sheer anxiety.  I know the procedure by heart, I’ve watched it a thousand times, I’ve gone over it in my head a million times.  It’s still nerve racking, ya know, taking a body part out of an animal.  My friends landlord’s dog, no less!  By the way, my surgery group came up with a lot of team names for ourselves, but only one stuck – Team Stitch the Bitch.

To be honest, some days when I’m down right exhausted and nervous, I wonder why I put myself through all this stress and trauma.  I never thought I could make it this far.  Then I’m reminded why I’m here busting my butt when I come across a stray pothound in need of some love, or when I come home to my roommate’s cat who greets us at the door.  Somebody has to do it for them.

I’ll update with pictures this weekend. Neal is coming September 17th, I cannot wait!

Oh flying is so much fun.

I woke up early this morning to get on my plane for home.  And naturally, I got “randomly” selected to get the heavy pat down and bag searched twice.  Twice!  And the second time was right before I was getting on the plane.  It was sunny, beautiful out, and by the time I was walking out to the plane, it started DOWN POURING.  So my poor Cyrie got sopping wet.

My flight was delayed almost 2 hours in Miami because the flight cleaning crew didn’t show up.

Then an elderly lady started vomiting on the flight.  If you know anything about me, humans vomiting is a big phobia of mine.  So that was really fun to deal with.

Then I get to Denver (running to catch the flight), for it to be delayed because of mechanical errors, then after about an hour, we board.  We were on the runway and just about to take off when the pilot basically said “Just kidding, you’re here to stay in Denver.”  But luckily (thank you United), they found another plane so I am waiting to board this next plane.

I’d really like to be home right now.  But I’ll happily take just getting home within the next few hours!

This post may not make any sense.  You’ll have to excuse my poor grammar and story telling abilities because I am so tired.

Coopie, is that you?


This looks a lot like my roommate’s cat, Cooper.  In fact, I’m not convinced that it isn’t Coopie.

Finals? They are going well.  It looks like I will be going onto my third year of veterinary school!  But I guess I shouldn’t count my blessings too soon.  I still have one final left.  And I am exhausted!  All the cortisol running rampant through my body might be taking a toll on me.

But alas, I will be home in a few short days to enjoy a wonderful Washington summer.

Nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy

Going home in 8 days!

So far I have completed:

  • Intro to Surgery Skills
  • Pathology (So incredibly happy to be done with this class.  Possibly more happy than I was with Anatomy.)

But I still have to finish:

  • Pharmacology (Today at 1pm)
  • Virology (Friday 1pm)
  • Clinical Pathology (Monday Lecture – 8am, Lab – 3pm)
  • Poultry Diseases (Wednesday 1pm)

And then home home home on Thursday to slip into a state of hibernation for a few days.