This month, the Caribbean island of St Lucia will be revelling in all things chocolate related as it celebrates its cocoa bean and chocolate heritage at Jade Mountain; the globally exported cocoa bean has a long history of production in the West Indies dating back to the 1700’s. Tourist attractions and hotels on St Lucia have long been using chocolate to attract and entertain visitors.
The stunning Jade Mountain hotel embraces the island’s cocoa bean production year-round with a selection of chocolate themed activities, but is now bringing these to the forefront in order to celebrate the product and all it has done for the island.
Set high on the hills overlooking St Lucia’s Pitons World Heritage Site, Jade Mountain is comprised of 24 Infinity Pool Sanctuaries and five Sky Jacuzzi Suites – each of which is a carefully designed, individual work of art and architecture. The most striking feature of the suites is the omission of their fourth walls, showcasing views over the glistening ocean and the Pitons majestic twinned peaks.
Jade Mountain is St Lucia’s only bean-to-bar organic chocolate maker. With its own estate to grow the coco beans, along with numerous other organic produce that is used on-site, and a Chocolate Laboratory in which to make its marvellous creations, the hotels is a chocoholics paradise. The team invite guests into their world of chocolate on the Emerald Estate ‘Tree to Bar’ Tour. The two hour tour goes through a full production cycle from the growth of the cocoa bean in the Caribbean and the process of becoming chocolate, including fermentation, sun drying and polishing of the beans.
For a more hands on experience, Jade Mountain also offers a Chocolate Sensory Tasting in the resort’s very own, Willy Wonka-style, Chocolate Laboratory. The Sensory Tasting is a journey through the flavour palate of cocoa and chocolate. Guests begin by sampling the raw cocoa bean, which is used within the very first step in chocolate production, as well as Jade Mountain’s very own chocolate, while sampling parts of all the steps in between.
Chocolate, packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine, has a number of wellness benefits. It can be attributed to a healthy heart, lowering anxiety and protecting skin against dehydration. Jade Mountain has utilised these health benefits of chocolate by creating, not one, but a series of chocolate inspired spa treatments. One example is the ‘Chocolate Citrus Body Polish’, which combines the anti-oxidant and hydrating properties of chocolate with the rejuvenating and cleansing properties of citrus. Treatment begins with a Chocolate Citrus Sugar polish followed by a rich layer of Body Chocolate Wrap and finally a splash of Chocolate Body Milk, to leave your skin exfoliated, glowing and moisturised.
The transition from cocoa bean to chocolate is a long and laborious one, exemplifying why fine chocolate comes at a price! Cocoa beans take three to five years before they bear fruit and each tree only produces enough beans for one kilogram of chocolate. The indulgence and luxury associated with chocolate is a rare treat, at Jade Mountain it can be enjoyed not only in the chocolate laboratory or Emerald Estate but in every aspect of the stay at this spoiling hotel.