Last Updated on October 18, 2023
You’ll recognise the magnificent Pitons that dominate the skyline, but Saint Lucia is more than just incredible scenery and idyllic beaches, Saint Lucia is ideal for chocolate lovers. The crown jewel of the Antilles, the island has a chocolate heritage that dates back to the 1700s when the island first imported its exceptional cocoa beans to Europe and the US. Today, Saint Lucia is fast developing a reputation as a chocolate lover’s paradise.
Saint Lucia is a hot spot for fast-developing chocolate tourism. And its trifecta of nutrient-rich volcanic soil, humid, shady rainforest and warm tropical climate makes this cacao a cut above the rest. If you crave some of the finest single-estate chocolate in the world, Saint Lucia is a feast for the senses.
Create bean-to-bar chocolate
It’s the ultimate cacao experience. Chocolate obsessives will want to get up close with the source of their contentment. And what better way than with a fully immersive bean-to-bar chocolate experience on a St Lucia chocolate tour?
You can take part in the age-old traditions of the chocolate-making experience. First, you’ll harvest, dry and polish the cacao before grinding and rolling it. Cacao pods are the original magic beans, the contents transforming into luscious, creamy chocolate with the addition of just a few simple ingredients.
Start your exploration of all things cacao by selecting from a wide variety of chocolate experiences across the island. It’s the first step to learning more about the history and heritage of cacao production in Saint Lucia. Try the Heritage Tour at the Fond Doux Eco Resort or a trip to Jade Mountain’s Chocolate Laboratory.
Don’t miss the chance to perform the historic Coco-Rina dance. You’ll complete a series of sliding, spinning and swooping moves across the cacao beans that are actually designed to help polish the beans. In turn, this improves the cacao’s appearance and protects against fungal infection. Variations of the dance are performed across the Caribbean, including ‘dancing the cocoa’ in Trinidad.
Stay in a chocolate-themed hotel
British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has been a presence on the island since the 2000s. Their Rabot Estate connects serious chocolate lovers with the brand’s commitment to ethical chocolate production.
This spellbinding location offers cacao devotees an immersive experience, from a Tree-to-Bar rainforest tour to savouring cacao-spiced cuisine in the award-winning restaurant. It’s a multi-sensory experience, from the infinity pool overlooking the iconic Picots to the cacao-themed spa.
Hotel Chocolate in Saint Lucia is based at the oldest working cacao farm on the island, in the heart of the rainforest at Soufrière. And you’ll have plenty of opportunity to pick up swoon-worthy gifts from their array of award-winning handmade micro-batch chocolates, made with unique Island Grower cacao. This sustainably farmed and ethically sourced product also finds its way into cacao-infused alcohol and beauty products.
Soufrière is at the heart of cacao production for delectable St Lucia chocolate. The French first colonised the area around 400 years ago and introduced cacao trees to the island. And visiting its cacao farms is a crash course in all things chocolate. With the scent of cacao heavy in the air, Soufrière is a fantastic base to discover other sights and sounds of St Lucia, including the fabulous Castries Market.
TAKEAWAY: Soufrière is well worth visiting for its indulgent chocolate. But it’s also home to the world’s only drive-in volcano. Known as Sulphur Springs, the warm volcanic springs, steaming caldera, and mud baths bring tourists flocking from all over the world. The last eruption was back in 1780, and locals warn that the day Soufrière loses its sulphuric smell, it’s time to watch out as the next one is coming!
Pamper yourself at a chocolate spa
Chocolate is prevalent all over the island, from exceptional single-estate bars to mouthwatering chocolate beer. But cacao doesn’t just taste good. It’s a treat for your skin. And the island’s sustainable farming philosophy means that no parts of the bean are wasted.
The value of cacao farming is directly linked to tourism in St Lucia. So, every part of the bean finds its way into innovative products, from gastronomy to skin care. Theobroma cacao is present in several spa treatments that are perfect for relieving aching muscles after a day of conquering the heights of Gros Piton.
Try a delectably hydrating chocolate wrap or cocoa shell scrub in one of Saint Lucia’s cacao-themed spas. Popular treatments include being bathed in warmed and cooled chocolate layers to revitalise and stimulate the skin.
The Jade Mountain Resort offers guests a buffet of chocolate treatments, including a cacao facial and mocha massage.
Try a cup of cacao tea
No trip to Saint Lucia is complete without a mug of the island’s unique and delectable cocoa tea. A legacy of the British, who abolished slavery in 1833, cocoa tea is an authentic taste of the island.
With its distinctive notes of clove, bay and cinnamon, Saint Lucia cacao is a versatile ingredient for sweet and savoury dishes. Cocoa tea begins with the processing of the beans, which are ground into a paste that is flattened to create what’s known as a cacao stick. Once dried, the cacao is grated and steeped in boiling water, like the traditional tea leaf.
But, any resemblance between a British brew and St Lucia’s cocoa tea ends here. You’ll be given the opportunity to create your own bespoke spice blend, selecting from fragrant bowls of cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel, bay, cardamom and more. Finally, sugar is added, with milk or cream. In another twist, you can also choose to thicken your tea with flour to give it the consistency of chocolate pudding.
Celebrate Chocolate Heritage Month
So when’s the best time to experience the delights of St Lucia chocolate tourism? There’s no better time to head for this exquisite island than in August, Chocolate Heritage Month.
Immersing yourself in the island’s chocolate heritage couldn’t be sweeter. The entire island takes part in the month-long festivities. Trek the Chocolate Heritage Trail with twenty destinations to savour, or enjoy a special Gros Islet Friday night ‘jump up’ with chocolate-themed street food.
There are plenty of ways to indulge your chocolate obsession with agri-tourism events across the island. You’ll find St Lucia chocolate infused in sweet and savour menus, drinks and spa treatments, as well as fun events for all ages. It’s a complete 360 celebration of the island’s cacao heritage and growing reputation as an unmissable culinary destination.
St Lucia: A multi-sensory cacao experience
With its crystal clear waters and breathtaking scenery, St Lucia is considered one of the finest destinations in the world. But the hidden heart of chocolate makes it such an appealing destination for cacao obsessives.
It’s also the ideal base for exploring the other islands in the Antilles, including the perfect island paradise of Antigua and Barbuda. Meanwhile, the combination of rainforest trails, outstanding off-road cycle routes and outdoor pursuits like snorkelling and climbing means there’s always an adventure on the horizon.
With its rich, diverse history, St Lucia is a melting pot of French, English and Caribbean cultures. Add its rich cacao heritage into the mix, and you have a unique island destination with a multi-sensory appeal. We’ve discovered paradise in St Lucia, and it’s made of chocolate.