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Tucked away among 18th-century walls of the historic Graycliff Hotel, in Nassau, Bahamas, is the Graycliff Chocolatier Factory. With a motto of “from bean to bar,” visitors to the factory get to witness — and participate in — every aspect of the chocolate-making process.
When our group arrived, we were greeted by our aptly nicknamed guide Cocoa. While we took in the delicious scent of chocolate and were surrounded by display cases of brightly colored sweets and shelves of chocolate soap and edible pirate figurines, Cocoa told us about the expert at the chocolatier’s helm, Erika Dupree Davis, a former contestant on the television show “Top Chef: Just Desserts.”
Next, we set off on a tour of the factory where we saw vats of dark chocolate; a conveyer belt used to cool chocolate molds; and a color-streaked cabinet where designs are air-brushed on chocolates using a cocoa-butter gun. All around us were workers carefully tempering milk chocolate by hand (yes, by hand). All the while, Cocoa educated us on the chocolate-making process.
Then came the best part: Equipped with cups of chocolate, marshmallow, shredded coconut, pineapple, crushed hazelnut and crunchy granola, we set to work, dipping, molding, rolling and designing all kinds of chocolaty treats of our own.
We ended the day with chocolate on our faces and in our bellies — plus, we had plenty to take home.