SpiceIsland of the West Grenada

SpiceIsland of the West, Grenada

Grenada, also known as the “Isle of Spice,” is a Commonwealth realm located in the Southern Caribbean. This tiny, 344 square kilometre island is one of the world’s largest exporters of nutmeg and mace, providing 20 percent of the global supply. Other important exports include cinnamon, allspice (pimento), turmeric, bay leaves, ginger and clove. The island has also pioneered the production of organic cocoa, and the Grenada Chocolate Company processes the beans into dark chocolate bars.


flickr image by jimg944

Nutmegs and mace are parts of the same fruit, and are used extensively worldwide in the pharmaceutical industry, and also for culinary purposes. Grenadians use both spices for food flavouring, and the pericarp of the fruit is used for making jellies, jams, juices, syrup and candy. Nutmeg is one of the great spices of old, and it adds a delicious spicy flavour to rum punch, milk drinks and cakes. Noelville Ltd., a local company, uses nutmeg oil to manufacture NutMed, a proven formula for relieving pain in the muscles and joints.

Mace is the red lacy substance wrapped around the shell that encases the aromatic seed of the fruit. It is used to season soups, stews, sauces, pickles etc. Cinnamon is used in baked goods, cereals, sweets, sauces, hot chocolate, cocoa, and teas. Allspice or pimento has aromatic seeds used to flavour pickles, stews, marinades etc. Clove is a dried flower bud, and can be used whole or dried to season sausages, hams, mincemeat and other meats.


flickr image by Granding

Pimento is used for flavouring sauces, marinades, stews, pickles, fruit salads, soups and spicy hot tea. Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf used for stews, vinegars, savoury rice, gravies, salad dressing, pork, poultry, fish, pastas, marinades, condiments and porridges. Turmeric is used to colour rice and potato dishes, and is also an important ingredient in the Grenadian national dish, oil down, which is breadfruit steamed in coconut milk.

Grenada is a true spice island, with almost every inland road lined with nutmeg trees. One of the must sees for visitors to the island is Laura’s Herb and SpiceGarden, where you’ll witness almost every spice grown on the island on display. Another stop would be Belmont Estate, which also grows spices, and which is also home to one of the island’s top restaurants. On the way up to Belmont Estate, stop at the Gouyave Nutmeg Pool to see how nutmegs are processed for export.

The spices are widely available in the marketplace, at the cruise ship terminal, and in tourist shops all over the island. You can also get them in supermarkets, on the beach and perhaps even at your hotel. If you shop at the marketplace, you can also get a chance to sample local fruit and drink coconut water straight from the shell, a delicious experience.

You can get to Grenada through Maurice Bishop International Airport, located just outside the island’s capital of St. George’s, and less than ten minutes away from its main beach resorts. Several major international airlines fly into Grenada from the United States and Europe on weekly or bi-weekly schedules. You can also take a connecting flight from a major hub such as Barbados, Antigua or Trinidad. This spice island is a gem worth discovering, so put it on your itinerary today!

Date posted: 26th December, 2012

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