Any St Lucia real estate owner who invests in this stunning island will be pleased to know that one of the island’s most delectable commodities is chocolate. I know that my kids always put this at the top of the list of ‘best bits’ when anyone asks them what they like most about this place. |
Having been produced in St Lucia for 400 years, chocolate is now not only enjoyed by everyone who lives here, but is also honoured with its own month-long celebration.
The Cocoa Bean
While the cacao bean might appear nothing like the product it can become, it is a fascinating thing to see and to taste. Try a bean fresh from the plant and, despite it looking somewhat suspect, you will be amazed by the sweet fruity taste that lingers on your tongue.
Grown in the Soufrière hills, the cacao beans are very much a part of island life since the French brought the trees here over 450 years ago. Grown in these rich and decadent soils that are volcanic and shaded by the lush vegetation, the beans thrive. Take a walk in these hills and you will be enveloped by the tempting smell of cacao amalgamated with the sweet scent of bananas and heliconia flowers. Wonderful!
Having survived the battles between the French and the British, the trees have become an important part of the island’s economy, and today a Chocolate Heritage Trail has been organised to take place every August.
The Chocolate Heritage Trail
No matter where you have invested in your piece of St Lucia real estate, you can join in the celebrations of the cacao bean. The trail includes twenty places dotted all over the island where the trees are grown and you can visit at any point. There are also some wonderful activities and events scheduled in various locations too.
If you and the family want a more in-depth introduction to chocolate, the three-hour tour run at Boucan by Hotel Chocolate is definitely one to look out for. You’ll wander among the trees, while being regaled with information about the production of chocolate as well as being shown how to properly pluck a bean from the tree: twisting and no pulling, or you will prevent the next crop from flourishing.
Chocolate making is big business and the process has not changed for centuries, although the cocoa-rina dance is no longer performed as a way of polishing the beans! Once the beans have been picked they are packed and covered with banana leaves before being left to ferment for a week. They exude an incredible amount of heat during this time. They are then dried in the sun and roasted, before the nibs are ground into the paste needed for the rest of the process.
Highlights of The Chocolate Heritage Trail
If covering yourself in chocolate and revelling in the benefits to your skin is what you fancy, it is all possible on St Lucia. Real estate owners or visitors who are into wine can always go wine tasting at Ti Kaye Resort & Spa, where you can learn which wines go with which chocolate. My favourite thing to do, however, is to head to Castries Market to buy the ingredients for the traditional St Lucia hot chocolate; nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla which you then grate into boiling water with solid chocolate sticks, sugar, milk and corn starch. This is a chocoholic’s heaven and a favourite with children.
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His indepth local knowledge and wealth of experience in luxury St Lucia real estate are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.
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