For the past five years, CFFI has partnered with École Hôtelière de Montréal's baking and pastry department to offer an immersive learning experience to a group of select students.
President of CFFI Dorise Kowalewski, standing to the right with her faithful dog Cannelle, works hard every year to bring Immersion Cacao to life. Here she is joined by students on CFFI'S farm where not only cocoa, but many fruits including passion fruits (seen in tree beside her), grow. This cultivation of cocoa and fruit side-by-side is what makes Grenada's chocolate so delicious.
The group spends a week in Grenada learning about the process of cocoa extraction and chocolate production right where it happens—in the fields and at the Jouvay factory. The group sees firsthand the hard work it takes to pick cocoa beans, tastes the sweet tanginess of cacao pulp, and takes in the unique smells of cocoa fermentation.
The inside of a cacao bean, held by student Nelly Satchivi.
The students learn to make cocoa juice, and experiment with small batch bean-to-bar chocolate making process—which becomes knowledge they’ll bring back to the classroom in Montréal.
The students, pictured alongside Professors Dominique Ostré, J-M David, and François Matthey, geared up to make chocolate.
The immersion also provides an element of exchange: the group shares technical skills during the two days they spend at the culinary school of Newlo, harvests seaweed for compost at the ocean, and teams with the Kido foundation to propagate Red Mangroves in a sanctuary on the island of Carriacou.
It's through the collaborative effort of Francois Matthey-Jonais, Director of Pastries, that the immersion is a success.
The focus of the immersion is on cocoa, but the ripple effect is that the group spends meaningful time with local farmers, culinary teachers, and chocolate makers, and develops an appreciation for the culture and natural beauty of Grenada.
This sculpture, made by Canadian students with Grenadian cocoa, celebrates the cultural exchange between Grenada and Canada during Immersion Cacao.
* Thanks to Nadia Guentasse, a student on the trip who also has an eye for photography, for taking most of the photos in this blog.*