I have to admit- I do dream in chocolate, and have for most of my life. Being the avowed chocoholic and history buff that I am, I was ecstatic to discover a truly unique property during our most recent trip to the Caribbean: The Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia.
Combining fancy hotels with one-of-a-kind chocolate travel experiences is nothing new but, Hotel Chocolat furthers the notion in fine style, with upscale accommodations and interactive experiences providing a unique window into how chocolate gets made. Specifically, the rare St. Lucia cocoa is grown at Rabot Estate, a 140-acre plantation located in the shadow of the Grand Pitons that dates back to 1745. Hotel Chocolat (the chocolatier) purchased the estate (the oldest in St. Lucia) in 2006, becoming the only UK company to have its very own cocoa plantation. In December 2010, they opened the hotel on the very same spot.
The property invites you to work the cocoa harvest, which takes place between November and April – the exact months most of need to escape the cold and snow! Local experts working alongside you share their knowledge for what makes the best cacao, how best to harvest it, how it becomes world-class chocolate and the history of the plantation, providing a unique culinary/cultural travel experience. The trails crisscrossing the plantation’s 140 acres and the nearby Pitons provide ample hiking opportunities. Rabot Estate is also home to guava, mango, banana, papaya, soursop, breadfruit trees.
We were fortunate enough to have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant which naturally features Cacao Cuisine. Boucan Restaurant features the most inventive gourmet menu items, which were delicious. My husband had duck breast with dark chocolate sauce and I had a mixed vegetable salad with white chocolate dressing! Our private cottage featured contemporary West Indian design, luxury amenities, and private outdoor showers in a setting that’s pure heaven to chocolate lovers.
We had such a wonderful time and experience and can’t wait to make the trek back next time I need my chocolate fix!