As we turn our attention to tasty treats ahead of Chocolate Week, which starts on October 15th, you might be surprised to learn that while Saint Lucia is the land of Caribbean sunsets and lavish honeymoon hotels, it’s also one of the most important cocoa-growing regions in the world. Its small area means that it’s not as well-known as other major players like Ecuador or Brazil, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality.
As well as having some of the purest, tastiest chocolate you’re likely to find, the island has some great chocolatey experiences too. These can range from high-end luxury indulgences like chocolate spa treatments through to the traditional hot chocolate drink that Saint Lucians have enjoyed for many years.
For a sweet time in Saint Lucia at any time of the year, here are the Flexicover team's recommendations of the island’s top experiences for chocolate lovers.
A chocolate-making workshop
There’s no better place to learn the art of chocolate-making than on a verdant fern-fringed lawn of a cocoa plantation in this beautiful French colonial island. One way to make a meal out of it is to join a Chocolate Decadence Tour, hosted by Island Route Tours, which costs around $145 (£110). Using the popular meeting point of Castries port, guests are treated to a catamaran to Rabot Estate where they can amble around its grounds, make chocolates from scratch and dig into a cocoa-themed lunch. As a bonus treat, those on the Tour will spend the afternoon at the Sulphur Springs mud bath, a must-do in the area.
Hot chocolate, Saint Lucia-style
Hot chocolate is loved the world over: it’s given a Mexican twist in horchata, the French use liquid chocolate to make their rich drink, and Saint Lucian’s have their special twist too. With excellent cocoa domestically grown, locally available fat sticks of the stuff are used to make their version. After buying one at any local supermarket, grate it to get flakes of the 100% cocoa. Locals boil this with water, cinnamon and vanilla, before adding milk and sugar. Once it’s strained it’s a deliciously spicy, warming drink that’s most often served on Sunday mornings. Keep an eye out at your hotel’s breakfast buffet for a sample.
Visit a cocoa estate
There’s an abundance of cocoa plantations to visit that allow visitors to get up close and personal to the chocolate-making process and unsurprisingly it’s one of the most popular activities away from Saint Lucia’s world-famous coastline. These estates include the Rabot Estate, Anse Mamin Plantation, Emerald Estate, Morne Coubaril Estate and La Dauphine Estate. A visit not only uncovers the tree to bar process but also highlights the importance of chocolate within Saint Lucia’s culture and history. There are easy half-day or full-day tours and there’s no shortage of companies offering visitors a ready-made, no-hassle trip.
Stay at the real Hotel Chocolat
To surround yourself in chocolatey goodness from morning until night, try a stay at Boucan, the hotel from the company behind the fancy chocolatier Hotel Chocolat. They source all their cocoa from Saint Lucia, which is why their luxury accommodation shows off the very best chocolate experiences that money can afford. For starters the Cocoa Juvenate spa uses the plantation’s own pods in their treatments, there’s an abundance of walks through their cocoa groves to enjoy, and the hotel bar serves up new faves like chocolate daiquiris and cacao-infused bellinis. At £250+ a night it’s not cheap, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime treat for chocolate lovers across the world.
Take a chocolatey spa treatment
The resort of Jade Mountain is spectacular for its incredible architecture and semi-open rooms, and also its chocolate offerings. With an on-site cocoa plantation it’s no wonder the antioxidant is a key ingredient at their spa. Either in the privacy of your own in-room infinity pool area, or at the Kai Belté Spa, take the Chocolate Delight treatment costing $150 (£115) to feel the most benefit. Here, chocolate is applied in warm then cooling layers, which revitalises your skin, rejuvenates your mind and tantalises your nose. Just try your best not to nibble at your treatment, as it’s mixed with a cocktail of other healthy minerals.
Wherever your travels take you this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.