You probably associate chocolate-making with the Aztecs, the Mayans or Cadbury’s World in Birmingham – but in fact St Lucia has been a prime producer of the sweet stuff for centuries. The island is home to the official Hotel Chocolat plantation, Rabot Estate, and harvests cocoa beans that are so pure, they’re known as the ‘champagne of the confectionery world’. Cocoa plantations in St Lucia are known as estates, and the highest quality chocolate is made entirely on one estate, so it has its own distinct flavour just like wine from a vineyard. So it’s definitely a little more high-end than your run-of-the-mill Curly Wurly or Wispa…
When it comes to experiencing the island’s chocolate heritage first-hand, it’s all about getting hands-on. St Lucia’s tropical scenery begs to be explored in style – whether that’s swinging through the jungle on a zipline or driving right to the edge of a bubbling volcanic crater – so tours of the cocoa estates are no exception. You can even make your very own chocolate bar – plucking a ripe cacao pod straight from the tree, and then fermenting, drying and mixing the beans, before turning them into chocolate, with lots of tasting in between, of course.
Once you've peeled yourself away from the plantations, the cocoa-themed activities continue in the form of chocolate facials and massages in the opulent hotel spas, and cacao treats you can try at the huge open-air market in Castries.
The locals use raw cacao to make their famous Cocoa Tea - a hot drink brewed with vanilla and cinnamon - and to season food. So don't be surprised if you find cacao shakers nestled amongst the condiments.
And if you're a true chocaholic, August is the best time to visit. The entire month is dedicated to exploring St Lucia's chocolate history - aptly called Chocolate Heritage Month - and there's entertainment, festivities and even more cocoa-based beauty treatments to enjoy.
As you probably know, chocolate doesn’t grow on trees. There’s a whole heap of other ingredients and processes that go into making a fully-fledged Dairy Milk. But something that does grow on trees is raw cacao, which happens to be the latest superfood on the healthy eating scene. It’s basically cold-pressed, unroasted beans which contains vitamins, healthy fats and feel-good serotonin plus 4x the average antioxidant power of dark chocolate and 20x more than blueberries. Food bloggers and chefs use it to make nutrient-rich brownies, cakes and sweet treats like this super quick and easy recipe from food blogger Deliciously Ella…
All pictures credited to Hotel Chocolat, Deliciously Ella
The Mystique St Lucia by Royalton faces right up to mile-long Reduit Beach, and comes with an award-winning restaurant, to boot.
The brand-new Hideaway at Royalton St Lucia has an exclusive pool and seafood restaurant. Hideaway has an adults-only atmosphere and is for over 18s only.
Unwind at luxurious wellness spa retreat BodyHoliday. The focus here is on wellbeing, so you can look forward to wholesome food, a wide range of fitness activities, and a top-rated spa.
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