On St Lucia chocolate tourism is a big deal, and visitors have a choice of popular tours that plunge deep into the history, culture, and process of making a gourmet chocolate bar. August is the island’s designated Chocolate Heritage Month honoring a cocoa legacy that dates back to the 18th century. But, in reality, many of the island’s top resorts use native cocoa in decadent spa treatments and imaginative restaurant creations throughout the year. August is simply the best month for the most imaginative uses of the cacao bean in “choctails,” coco-massages, and over-the-top chocolate sampler plates.
All chocolate products come from cacao seeds, which are derived from the cacao plant. Cacao nibs and powder are a pure form of raw chocolate. Cocoa is the roasted and ground cacao bean used in most chocolate products. You’ll appreciate the difference in taste and health benefits after you jump into one of St. Lucia’s deliciously informative tours.
Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, a boutique hotel and restaurant located on the historic Rabot Estate, offers a full-disclosure Tree-to-Bar Experience. The tour begins with a peek into the seedling nursery, where baby cacao trees get their start, and ends with participants making their own delicious chocolate bar.
At Fond Doux, another working cacao estate, tours include a guided walk around the plantation which grows almonds, nutmegs, and coconuts, as well as cacao. Then it’s off to the Cocoa Fermenting House, where a vital part of the chocolate-making process takes place.
Morne Coubaril produces cacao, coffee, and fruits. The historic estate offers several ways to visit, including on horseback and by ziplining over the trees. The on-site restaurant serves fresh juices and a famous coconut cake from the harvested produce. During a tour, you see a replica of the huts and gardens typical of an island village in the 1800s, taste raw cacao beans, and sample fresh cane juice at the mule-driven sugar cane mill.
Emerald Estate is the organic plantation where vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices are grown to supply the gourmet restaurants at Anse Chastanet Resort and Jade Mountain Resort. More than 1,000 cacao trees grow on the estate and provide beans for the resorts’ chocolate production. Tours include a stroll around the plantation and a crash course at the interactive Chocolate Lab on turning organic beans into scrumptious bars of chocolate.
Cocoa gets rave reviews for stimulating endorphins (your happy hormone) and attacking nasty oxidants. Several island spas offer a menu of chocolate-based treatments to smooth your skin, quiet your mind, and relax your body.
At Ti Kaye Village Resort & Spa you can treat yourself to the Chocolate Package. This includes a Chocolate Body Scrub, Chocolate Wrap, and Chocolate Massage. Your skin will be in scrumptious ecstasy.
Jade Mountain Resort’s Kai En Ciel Boutique Spa lures you with promises of coddling in layers of warm and cool chocolate during their relaxing Chocolate Delight treatment.
The Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach Resort recommends starting your body treatment with a Chocolate Scrub that mixes organic cacao with Dead Sea salts and essential oils. Follow up with one of their nourishing body wraps and your skin will glow.
The Boucan by Hotel Chocolat uses chocolate everywhere including in a swimming pool designed to look like it’s filled with liquid fudge. Cocoa Juvenate Spa uses a finely ground cocoa called “NanoCacao” to create deliciously aromatic treatments like the Cacao Facial, the Cacao Massage.