Boucan, Soufriere Saint Lucia

In Dining by LA Travel Magazine

Upon arrival to Hotel Chocolat we started with the “Tree-To-Bar” Experience which lead us through the estate groves to pick the perfect cocoa pod to create our very own chocolate bar. The tour includes all the stages of creating chocolate from visiting the seedling nursery, fermenting room and sun-drying station to grinding, mixing and lots of tasting! We had an amazing time learning how to pick cacao and transform it into our own chocolate bars. I gained a new found appreciation for chocolate.

Midway through the tour, we grafted a tree and put our names on a tag attached. When we come back to St. Lucia, we can see our tree all grown and can even get a chocolate bar when it begins producing cacao. The second half of the tour is when you get to make your own chocolate bar. We started with a mortar and pestle that had been heated in an oven and began grinding the cacao beans while learning the art of chocolate making. We added in cocoa butter to smooth the texture of our chocolate and sugar to help with the bitterness of the straight cacao and after some serious hard work, we had chocolate!

After the tour was over we made our way over to Boucan for dinner. The restaurant incorporates cocoa into most of the menu items and the entire dining experience, from putting cocoa grinders next to salt and pepper shakers to creating menu items like Lightly Curried Coconut & Cacao Chicken, Tomato, Chilli & Cacao Ravioli. For our meal we went with the Crisp Cacao Goat’s Cheese and Aberdeen Angus Prime Beef with Dark Chocolate Port Wine Sauce. We also had to try the Cacao Bellini and the Cacao Martini, both were fabulous. Boucan’s union of food and agricultural development, specifically its devotion to all things cocoa, is part of a budding movement across the Caribbean.

Rabot Estate, P.O. Box 312, Soufriere, St. Lucia, 1 800-757-7132, http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/boucan