“The Grenada Chocolate Family” Wins Best in the World Prize

I have a “soft spot” for the lovely island of Grenada, some way down to the south and east of our island, after spending some time there during the BirdsCaribbean International Conference in 2013. I’m afraid to say that I also quickly developed a weakness for Grenadian chocolate; almost every day you could see me sneaking to the St. George’s University tuck shop to replenish my stock. I tried many kinds of chocolate, but my favourite is always the very dark chocolate (80 per cent or so). I’m not a fan of milk chocolate (which Jamaicans actually seem to prefer).  I like the bitter taste.

This was where I got hooked on Grenadian chocolate – on the Belmont Estate, home of the Grenada Chocolate Company. (My photo)

So, I wanted to share this press release with you from Oonya Kempadoo, novelist and social development researcher, which combines chocolate with book news. Two very enjoyable things!  It is about a wonderful cookbook/coloring book, created by Grenadian children at the Grenada Community Library, which has received numerous prizes in an international competition. 

Oonya is the Co-Founder of the Grenada Community Library and Resource Centre, 7 Lucas Street, St. George’s, Grenada (http://www.grenadalibrary.org) You can find Oonya at http://www.oonyakempadoo.com and on Facebook.


The Grenada Chocolate Family wins “BEST IN THE WORLD”

On May 27th the Grenada Community Library’s first publication, The Grenada Chocolate Family, was awarded BEST IN THE WORLD in the Charity and Fundraising category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Yantai, China.

Additionally, on May 28th, The Grenada Chocolate Family also won “Best in the World” (3rd place) in two more categories – Caribbean Cookbook World Cuisine, and Chocolate (tied with Paul A. Young’s UK publication, Sensational Chocolate).

The Grenada Chocolate Family is the only book among the 97 finalists that won in three separate categories.

On top of these great honors, the Grenada Community Library was selected as the fundraising cause of the Awards by Gourmand and Altos Tequila of Mexico, who raised 4,200.00 Yuan (US$600) at their bar on the final afternoon; this was announced this at the end of the Awards ceremony.

The Grenada Community Library with Edouard Cointreau, who was very supportive of the publication. (Photo: Oonya Kempadoo)

Representing Grenada amongst 211 competing countries (the Olympics have 205 countries), the book had already won four Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for the Caribbean and Grenada: Best Caribbean Cuisine Book, Best Children’s Food Book, Best Chocolate Book and Charity & Fund Raising, and had been nominated in an unprecedented four categories in Gourmand’s “Best in the World” Awards.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards is considered the “Oscars” of cookbook awards, inspired by the spirit of the Olympic Games. Its President, Mr. Edouard Cointreau, personally invited the Grenada Community Library to enter The Grenada Chocolate Family into the international cookbook competition, calling the book “very special,” and his passion for libraries and diverse publications and goodwill seems to champion this book and cause. The Grenada Chocolate Family, produced in collaboration with the Grenada Chocolate Fest, is edited by the library’s co-founder Oonya Kempadoo and Richardo Keens-Douglas and illustrated by Sara Scoddler in consultation with Grenadian artist, Stacey Byer.

The Grenada Chocolate Family, a children’s colouring story book, was written in the Grenada Community Library’s creative writing program, in a group-writing workshop with over 15 children, ages (6-12), facilitated by Oonya Kempadoo, developing a narrative using discussions on the process of chocolate making, local knowledge and uses of cocoa – in collaboration with the Grenada Chocolate Festival. It is the first children’s book written by children of colour in a cocoa-growing country about chocolate making, and shows how children’s contributions to literature and educational material matters and how their voices can influence an industry and increase fair trade.

Putting Grenada on the map. (Photo: Oonya Kempadoo)

The non-profit Grenada Community Library serves a community that is economically challenged by very high levels of unemployment, youth poverty and disenfranchisement, and low levels of functional literacy. All of the Library’s services, which along with the creative writing program include a children’s and general collection, adult literacy classes, numeracy and creativity programs, remain free of charge. It opened its doors in 2013 through the efforts of acclaimed Caribbean and internationally-published author Oonya Kempadoo, a faith-based organization, Mt. Zion Full Gospel Revival, and a social-action collective Groundation Grenada, all of whom recognized the urgent need for a public library with the sentiment “Can you imagine a nation without a public library?” The Grenada National Public Library was closed in 2011, since it was damaged by a catastrophic hurricane.

 The Library keeps its doors open through the support of the Grenadian community, both local and in the diaspora, combined with international supporters, through generous financial and book donations and the dedication of its volunteers. The Library is grateful to corporate and non-profit Partners for Literacy, Friends of the Library, and many wonderful volunteers.

The Grenada Chocolate Family, written by the children of the Grenada Community Library.

All proceeds from the sale of The Grenada Chocolate Family support the continued operation of the library as a free public service. Free copies for primary school students are made possible by the Jurgen Rausch Kakao Stiftung foundation. 

The Grenada Chocolate Family is now represented by the top US literary agent and author, Regina Brooks, Founder and President of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC. and Co-Founder/Executive Director of YB Literary Foundation.

The Grenada Embassy in Beijing sponsored co-founder Oonya Kempadoo’s attendance at the Gourmand World Cookbook awards ceremony in Yantai, China. Grenada’s ambassador to China, His Excellency Mr. Denis G Antoine, noted that he finds The Grenada Chocolate Family “inspiring,” and believes that the book has helped to promote Grenada’s organic and ethically produced chocolate industry, along with the Grenada Chocolate Fest.

This is a magnificent achievement for Grenada and the Caribbean, and for the free Grenada Community Library.

Young writers Carissa, Cadissa, Kiskadee and Tyler from the Grenada Community Library writing program with the book (and chocolate). (Photo: Oonya Kempadoo)

Contact: Oonya Kempadoo Email: oonya.kempadoo@gmail.com Tel: +1(473) 449 5485 (Whatsapp)

Grenada Community Library & Resource Centre Inc. Non-profit Reg. No. 224 OF 2015 – 7464

Tel: (473) 435-0588 / 457-5725 / 420 7616

Web: www.grenadalibrary.org   FB: www.facebook.com/mtzionlibraryhrc 

Twitter: @grenadalibrary

Address: #7 Lucas Street, St. George’s, Grenada, W.I.

Book for purchase on Amazon

Donate online here with Generosity.com. Cocoa painting by Stacey Byer online with charityauctionstoday.com.

18 thoughts on ““The Grenada Chocolate Family” Wins Best in the World Prize

  1. Thank you for posting this great news on your blog! I am biased but totally agree ,we here in Grenada have the best cocoa. The story is heartwarming,a collaboration of many.
    You must return and enjoy again. I cant believe its been so many years since we met at S.G.U. for the BirdsCaribbean conference. kind regards from Bathway Beach, St.Patricks….Barb Malone


    1. Hi Barb! Yes, I would love to return, and to bring my husband this time – I know he would love it too. It’s a really lovely story isn’t it. Do you rent cottages at Bathway Beach? Sending my love to Grenada…


  2. It would be nice to do a companion piece on Jamaican efforts to get back into the chocolate making business, with Richmond’s demise but the emergence of several smaller, niche manufacturers in/around Kingston, St Andrew, St Thomas, Manchester (if memory serves well). Some intriguing products, including chocolate mixed with hot peppers 🙂


    1. I just heard that cocoa production declined in the first quarter. Ever since Highgate chocolates closed their doors many years ago, it has gone downhill. I think there were efforts to revive it (USAID?) a few years ago. I think chocolate (and coffee) are in great demand globally. The niche manufacturers are SO small though and don’t seem to market themselves very well. Would be nice to have regular Jamaican chocolate bars again. (Hot peppers! In Grenada I had chocolate with sea salt mixed in – it was nice!)


  3. WOW. I read with such sense of pride – smile beaming from ear to ear. Thanks for sharing, Emma and for shedding some light on my little island in the sun


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