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87-year-old Gomea woman still making her own chocolate

87-year-old Gomea woman still making her own chocolate

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by Chanolde Munroe

In an age where many people are looking for the quickest way to get things done, there are still a few who still stick to traditional methods of food preparation.

Enid Craig of Gomea is one such person. She is the mother of nine and a grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother. She makes everything she uses in her kitchen from scratch, from her chocolate tea to the seasoning for her chicken.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT sat down with Craig last week to observe her chocolate making process.

Craig said she buys the cocoa beans from two different vendors and noted that when purchasing cocoa beans, one should ensure that they are dry.

The first step is to parch the cocoa beans.

Craig said to get the best flavour, one should parch them in a pot covered with bay sand over a coal pot. She stressed that it is important to turn them with a wooden spoon so that they do not burn.

However, she stated that if she doesn’t have a lot of cocoa beans, she would usually just put them in the oven, but maintains the best way is over the coal pot.

After parching, the beans are allowed to cool; then they are ground to a pulp, using a hand mill. “You have to grind them in a hand mill, not in a blender …the blender have to work with water and the cocoa have to be dry.” Craig explained.

Once the beans have been ground in the hand mill, she lays the cocoa on waxed paper, and then rolls it out.

Craig, who is now 87 years old, states that she has trouble walking, so her children and grandchildren help her and she has passed on the tradition on to them.

Claiming that the main problem is her feet, she declared, “but with me hand I could do anything, I could clean me chive, I could clean pepper and help meself.”

The elderly lady remarked that she has been productive from a young age and that drive is what keeps her going.

She also stated “when I was a little girl…. I used to go up Akers and buy ground nut for nine cents per pound and parch and go in the yard and sell in Mespo by dance…so is long time I doing little thing to turn my hand.” She also credits the Lord for keeping her and for allowing her to be able to productive at such an elderly age.

Craig said that she has been making chocolate for as long as she could remember. She said she started doing it because she could not find the chocolate sticks and made it for her own personal use, but later decided to sell them to make “a little extra something on the side.”

She disclosed that because of her age, she does not have the output she had in the past, but said the sale of the cocoa is enough to keep her afloat and get her a few things that she needs.

When asked if she thought agro-processing would be a good industry for young people to get involved in, Craig stated, “No! Most young people are too lazy and they don’t want to get their hands dirty.”

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