Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 3rd 2014 Contents A30
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 3, 2014
• From Page A29
Three elements---indigenous tradition,
chemical-free material and entrepre-
neurship---form Soular s foundation.
The company s philosophy is about
changing the mindset to accept locally
grown and made products, to generate
a sense of national confidence. While
most consumers continue to hold to the
belief that foreign products are better,
Soular has been able to redefine the con-
cept of buy local through the products
it already has on the shelves.
They start by buying raw materials
from farmers who do not use pesticides
and fertilisers on their crops. Then they
sun-dry the produce.
"That is the best way to preserve it,
the Amerindian way," Goddard said,
though they actually use a more modern
It s a process that Paris learnt while
on a sailing trip to Polynesia, where he
was exposed to a procedure that is cen-
turies-old, but has been modified to
encourage increased production. Before
his sojourn at sea, Paris worked with a
planning company for three years. During
his year-and-a-half-long travels, he saw
different lifestyles, particularly indigenous
Also add Brodnike s experience in
organic processing, having worked at an
organic ice cream factory and an organic
winery in Germany. As for Goddard, she
once owned an organic shop at the artists
retreat Alice Yard on Roberts Street,
Woodbrook. Instead of creating her own
products then, she supported other peo-
ple s efforts by selling their goods.
Now Soular is theirs to create some-
thing new. First, it was sun-dried bananas,
cut into bite-size pieces. The natural
sugar makes it delectable. It can easily
replace the imported dried fruit, such as
cranberries and such that are used in
cereals, trail mix, muffins and sweet-
"We have support from the diaspo-
ras---both Trinidadians and foreigners---
who are looking at eco-friendly foods.
We have a growing base who are trying
to change their eating lifestyles, who are
questioning ethics behind the food. So
we are pitching our products in that way,
as an alternative," Paris said.
They have also produced a pancake
mix made from plantain flour, offering
an alternative to the boxed imports. Mixed
with water, the plantain-flour pancakes
are lighter, tastier when topped with a
syrup consisting of brown sugar, vanilla
essence and water.
Soular s other product, cacao nibs, also
have that indigenous connection. The
cacao nibs can be added to cereal, yogurt
or smoothies, can be used to replace
chocolate chips, can be used in recipes
such as Mexican mole sauce or
caramelised nibs and are the foundation
for making chocolate.
The cocoa comes from the La Reunion
Estate, between Centeno and Carapo, in
east Trinidad, the only one that grows
its product under organic conditions and
has won international awards.
At the duty free M Store owned by
soca star Machel Montano at Piarco Air-
port, Soular s dark chocolate is the source
for his self-named chocolate bar. At other
gourmet groceries, the chocolates are
branded under Soular. Both chocolates
are a mixture of pure cocoa, extracted
from sun-dried fruit, and sugar, minus
additives, preservatives and milk.
At $45 per kilo for cocoa, the cost of
local raw material may seem expensive---
especially when Europe pays $21 for the
same weight. To understand their pay-
ment structure means understanding the
history of T&T s cocoa industry: T&T
cocoa was a highly valued product and
thriving industry until Europe found a
means to undervalue it, one way was
opting for inexpensive and lower-quality
cocoa from other countries.
Among these ideals is collaboration,
having a good network of farmers and
entrepreneurs like themselves.
Thus for someone to copy their con-
cept would not be upsetting but an
expression of flattery. That way, they
hope, there will be an increase in the
number of people who wish to follow
this method of activism.
Besides, Goddard, Brodnike and Paris
are always working on other ideas.
"We are innovators. We can make
The soul of Soular
views bananas in
the process of
being sun-dried at
Soular's St Joseph
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