Chocolate Tour in St. Lucia by Hotel Chocolat: Ultimate Experience

Are you visiting St. Lucia and planning to add a chocolate-making tour to your itinerary? The Hotel Chocolate Chocolate Making Tour in St. Lucia is one of the unique immersive activities you will want to consider. I am sharing a complete “Tree to Bar” experience by Hotel Chocolat in this post.

Did you know that St. Lucia has been producing cocoa for centuries? The island’s high-heat climate and lush greenery create ideal conditions to grow cocoa trees. St. Lucia makes some of the finest chocolates in the world.

I love cocoa and chocolate, as do my kids, so I had to include the chocolate-making tour with Hotel Chocolate on our St. Lucia family itinerary. Now, I want to share everything from our experience so you can decide whether or not this tour is for you.

What to Expet: Before diving into details, here is what to expect during your tour: You will visit the beautiful Rabot Estate, which houses stunning cacao groves. You will learn about the chocolate-making process, including grafting a tree, rainforest walkthrough, and hand-crafting your chocolate bar, followed by a market-style lunch.

Note: We visited with kids, but the tour is not designed for kids younger than eight, meaning they can attend the tour but will not be involved in the chocolate-making activity. More on this later.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission for any sales made through such links – at no extra cost to you.

About Hotel Chocolat’s Project Chocolat

You may ask why Hotel Chocolat is in St. Lucia. Hotel Chocolat began its story on the six-acre Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia.

The tropical setting isn’t just picturesque; it’s the heart of where Hotel Chocolat’s ethically sourced cacao grows in its working cocoa plantation.

By visiting, you will connect directly with the Tree to Bar chocolate-making process, which is rooted in over a decade of success.

What sets the Project Chocolat experience apart is its innovative approach to agri-tourism. Your interaction isn’t limited to observation; you will participate in chocolate-making, from learning about cacao cultivation to crafting your chocolate bar. This hands-on initiative will deepen appreciation for every delicious bite.

Large sign "Welcome to Project Chocolate Saint Lucia From hotel chocolat" display

Tree To Bar Vs. Bean to Bar Chocolate Tours in St Lucia

The Hotel Chocolat offers two chocolate-making tours, among other workshops. Here is what you need to know before you decide which to book.

  • Tree-to-Bar Chocolate Making Tour: The “Tree to Bar” chocolate-making tour is a complete experience that involves a walk into the rainforest with a tour of the cacao groves, grafting your cocoa tree, and the opportunity to hand-craft your chocolate bar. Your tour will last approximately 2.5 hours and include a market-style lunch. (This tour is what we did and what this post is about)
  • Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Making Tour: This shorter tour does not include a rainforest tour and focuses primarily on crafting your chocolate bar. It lasts about one hour only. While this tour does not include lunch, you may still purchase it.

If you consider taking one of these tours, I highly recommend booking the “Tree to Bar” experience. Booking well in advance is essential, as spots tend to fill quickly.

Book Tree to Bar Chocolate Tour Here

Getting to Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat is nestled in the rainforest of southern Saint Lucia. It is a short taxi ride if you are staying near or in Soufriere or about 90 minutes from or around the Hewanorra International Airport.

We traveled from Windjammer Landing Resort, which took about 90 minutes. The ride was quite curvy, too.

While my kids do not tend to get car sick, my older one experienced slight discomfort when we almost reached the destination. This is something to remember if you are also visiting with kids. (But he enjoyed attending the tour overall)

Whether renting a car or using local transportation, ensure you plan for enough time to enjoy the scenic journey to the estate.

What to Expect with Chocolate Tour in St. Lucia By Hotel Chocolat

The first part of the tour consisted of learning about cocoa bean growth and production before making our chocolate bars.

Welcome and Introduction

Upon arrival at the Rabot Estate, the guide welcomed us with warm hospitality and briefly explained the history behind Hotel Chocolat. This set the stage for an authentic Tree to Bar chocolate adventure, emphasizing the company’s commitment to ethical cacao cultivation and chocolate production.

two jars displaying cocoa beans on right and cocoa bean shells on the left
Cocoa beans on the right and bean shells on the left

Exploring Seederie

Next, we went to Seed Nursery, where we learned how cocoa trees are grown. Here, you will see many tiny trees lined up in rows with name tags serving a personal message.

In the Seederie, you have an opportunity to plant your cocoa tree and give a name to your cocoa plant. That explained why rows and rows of lined-up plants had names on them. It’s such a personal touch. Yep! If you spot a tree, “Lady Out of Office,” please message me! Lol

Grafting Cocoa Tree

While still in the seed nursery, our guide demonstrated how to graft the cocoa tree. He used a knife and a table to attach two plants. It’s not something you see every day if you are from a city like ours.

What exactly is grafting a tree?

Grafting a tree involves joining a scion (upper part of a graft) with a rootstock (lower portion of the graft) to create a single plant with the combined attributes of both parts.

This technique is commonly used to join a part of one tree with another to create new and improved characteristics, like better growth and resistance to diseases. As I understood, they use this practice in St. Lucia to grow cocoa trees faster because it takes a long time to grow without grafting.

Cocoa Plantation Walkthrough

Following the seed nursery, we went to the cacao Plantation, only a few steps away. As you meander through the vibrant green rows of the cacao plantation, you’ll witness the cacao tree’s life cycle. Get ready for some heat while outside.

rainforest getaway entrance displaying tour guests entering the rainforest during a chocolate making tour in St. Lucia

The Cocoa Pod

As we walked, our guide stopped, grabbed one cocoa bean, and cracked it open with a unique technique he demonstrated. Inside, there were silky, textured cocoa pods that held cocoa seeds.

In this step, we participated in touching, tasting, and smelling the raw cacao pods as we learned about sustainable farming practices.

I could not taste much when I tried a piece of the pod. It had a slight sweetness, but nothing tasted like chocolate just yet.

Next, we went to the shaded area in the Rabot estate to demonstrate our skills in crafting the best chocolate bar I have ever had. But before that, you may ask what happens next to cocoa pods in the processing.

Further steps to Process the Cocoa Bean

Harvesting—After collecting cocoa pods, the next step is to open and extract the cocoa beans. During a demonstration, a guide revealed the brown beans enveloped in a thick, sweet, sticky white substance. Despite their bitterness, when sampled, the beans’ coating offers a lovely and sticky flavor.

Fermentation—To prepare the beans for roasting, they undergo a week-long fermentation process in sizable wooden containers to enhance their flavor before being left to dry under the intense heat of St Lucia’s sun. Subsequently, the team will roast the beans at 150°C, separating the nibs from the shells.

After dehydrating the beans, they should be cleaned, roasted, and removed from the shell and ground, and the butter will be separated from the cocoa.

As you can see, chocolate making is not as simple as some may have thought. I now appreciate the labor it involves a lot more.

Chocolate Tour in St. Lucia Experience: Bean to Bar

After walking through the rainforest in the high heat, we headed towards the Rabot Estates designated tour area to start making our chocolate bars. But first, we all received a cold cocoa refreshment. I’m not sure exactly what it contained. It was slightly bitter, but I liked it.

We had a nice shaded area surrounded by Rabot Estate Coffee Shop and various cocoa products on display, which you could purchase to take home!

Ramot Estate Coffee shop

You will be sweating in no time once you start pounding those chocolate nibs.

Our table had everything we needed: cocoa nibs, butter, and icing sugar. As we arrived, the staff removed a hot mortar and pestle from the oven, which helped melt the beans and incorporate butter to transform the nibs into a paste.

Also, remember when I mentioned that small kids cannot participate in this activity? Now, it made sense. Expect some muscle work and proper handling of hot Mortar.

Things to Know About Chocolate Tour in St. Lucia

  • At the time of writing, the complete tree-to-bar experience is $124pp, which includes a rainforest tour, chocolate making, and lunch.
  • You can also upgrade to lunch at the hotel’s fancier restaurant.
  • Bar to Bean experience is $79pp.
  • Your transportation needs could make it more expensive. It will depend on how much you have to travel to get there.
  • Kids under eight cannot participate in the chocolate-making phase.
  • Expect to put in some serious muscle work to grind those beans.
  • Even if you add all the sugar to your chocolate, it will still be a 65% dark chocolate cocoa bar.
  • It is an experience you do not want to miss in St. Lucia. Have fun!

Step One: Grinding Cocoa Nibs

The first step in making your chocolate bar is grinding cocoa nibs to a smooth powder. This step will make you exhausted for 15 minutes or more. I broke into a sweat only after 5 minutes. The overall heat was not helping either. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated. The tour guides walked around and checked on our results to make sure we were ready for the next steps.

Step 2: Add Cocoa butter to the mixture

After much pounding and a smoother texture, we added the cocoa butter and stirred continuously, making a perfectly smooth mix as it melted slowly and became a pourable paste.

Step 3: Add Sugar (and Taste!)

Finally, the best part! Once the mixture is thin enough to be ready, we start adding sugar. This is when you can start tasting your unique chocolate mix! I only used half the sugar they provided, as I wanted to keep it as bitter as possible.

My husband poured the entire cup without even tasting. However, even using the whole portion, you will still end up with 65% pure cocoa bar, so do not worry it will not be overly sweet. That said, later we both liked my chocolate better.

final mixture of ready chocolate mix still in mortar
We are adding sugar and tasting!

Step 4: Molding

Finally, We poured our liquid into a mold, put our names on top, and let it stay on the tables. Those had to be cooled down before we could take them with us.

Lunch

When you book the Tree-to-Bar experience, you will also have a market-style lunch included in your tour.

While we wanted to upgrade to lunch at the Rabot restaurant as our initial plan, our kids were exhausted, so we opted for a quick lunch.

The food was good and casual, but the chocolate ice cream afterward was even better! Make sure you get one of the chocolate desserts.

Bringing the Experience Home

After enjoying the lush landscapes and rich flavors of the St. Lucia Chocolate Tour with Hotel Chocolat, you’ll have the unique opportunity to bring home a piece of this memorable experience. Whether hunting for the perfect souvenir or longing to indulge in Hotel Chocolat’s signature treats, you’ll find just what you need to relive your chocolate journey.

  • Chocolate Bars: Choose from various flavors.
  • Cocoa Beauty Products: Luxuriate in cocoa butter lotions and chocolate-scented body products.
  • Themed Apparel: T-shirts and hats featuring witty chocolate sayings or the Hotel Chocolat logo.
  • Online Store: Upon returning home, continue your indulgence by ordering from Hotel Chocolat’s online selection.

Accommodation Options

When planning your chocolate journey with Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia, you have the luxury of staying on-site at the estate or choosing from nearby lodging options that offer convenience and comfort.

Staying at Hotel Chocolat

Rabot Hotel by Hotel Chocolat provides an immersive experience in a lush rainforest overlooking Petit Piton Mountain.

The property features 25 private eco-lodges, each offering a serene retreat with nature-inspired decor and spectacular views.

As a guest, you can enjoy a unique stay in the heart of the cacao plantation, which enhances your chocolate tour with easy access and a deeper connection to the cocoa-growing process.

Nearby Lodging

If you prefer to stay outside the estate, Soufrière hosts a variety of accommodation options within a short taxi ride from the Hotel Chocolat estate. Options range from luxury resorts to cozy guesthouses, ensuring you can find a place to stay that meets your budget and preferences. Enjoy the flexibility to explore St. Lucia while being conveniently located to participate in the Hotel Chocolat’s Tree to Bar experience.

Local Attractions and Activities

While reveling in the chocolate indulgence at Hotel Chocolat, you can also explore the rich natural beauty and adventure that St. Lucia offers. Two attractions stand out for their popularity and breathtaking experiences: the Sulphur Springs and Piton Mountains.

Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs Park, often called the world’s only drive-in volcano, is a marvel just waiting for your exploration. Here, you’ll be enthralled by the allure of warm, mineral-rich mud baths known for their therapeutic properties. After participating in the Hotel Chocolat Tree to Bar experience, a detour to bathe in these natural springs can be the perfect way to relax.

Piton Mountains Excursion

The majestic Piton Mountains are a sight to behold and a must-visit for any adventurer in St. Lucia. These iconic peaks offer challenging hikes with the reward of stunning panoramic views. After learning about cocoa’s journey from tree to bar, elevate your experience by journeying to the top of the Gros Piton or admire the view from a distance as a scenic backdrop to your chocolate adventures.

FAQ: Chocolate Making Tour in St. Lucia

Can visitors create their chocolate during the St. Lucia tour?

Yes, during the tour, you can engage in a chocolate-making session to create your chocolate and learn the intricate process from bean to bar.

How much does the chocolate tour cost at Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia?

At the moment of writing this post, the Tree to Bar Experience lasts about three hours, costs $124 per person, and includes a street-food-style lunch.

What dining options are available at Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia?

Hotel Chocolat offers a unique dining experience with dishes influenced by the rich flavors of cacao. They serve various meals, including a street-food-style lunch, which is included in the entire tour.

You may also upgrade your option to dining at Rabot Estate Restaurant with terrific Piton mountain views.

What are the origins of the chocolate used by Hotel Chocolat?

Hotel Chocolat uses cacao from certified organic farms that are part of the company’s Project Chocolat, which is dedicated to sustainable cultivation and biodiversity. Its cacao is obtained from heritage trees in St. Lucia.

Conclusion: Chocolate Tour in St Lucia by Hotel Chocolat

There you have it—our entire experience with hotel chocolate making in the Paradise of a Caribbean Island. Was it worth it? Very much so! Besides, this was one of the highlights of our St. Lucia Vacation If you love chocolate and would like to learn the chocolate production process step by step, the St. Lucia Chocolate Making tour must be on your Itinerary!

Book Tree to Bar Chocolate Tour by Project Chocolat

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *