You can buy chocolate the world over but here in Saint Lucia you can MAKE it! Roll up your sleeves, don the apron and prepare to have fun!
At Howelton Estate Jason and his team run Cocoa Carib, an organic chocolate factory, and are passionate about the art of making chocolate. They explained the history of chocolate-making: where the cocoa beans came from, how they were used by the Amerindians to make a beverage, how the chocolate drink was introduced to Europe for royalty and the well-to-do, and how the process was refined, resulting in chocolate as we recognise and love it today.
Then the moment we were waiting for: grinding cocoa nibs with confectionery sugar, cocoa butter and flavourings to produce our own bar. It was way more fun than expected, but involved more hard work than we had bargained for! Be prepared to pound that pestle into the mortar for over half an hour! Yes, such is the labour involved in producing one of the delights of life. But fear not if you suffer from fatigue – Jason and his team will readily assist with their brawn to ensure that you end up with a smooth paste. And they even let you lick the bowls clean!! Nobody wants to waste any of this delicious treat made with your own (plus a little help from Indel et al) fair hands. We felt like kids again, and it was heavenly!
Chocolate is good for you!
Chocolate contains flavanols that have antioxidant properties, improve blood flow to the heart and brain, and influence vascular health. Plus it tastes magnificent, making you feel great! According to the University of Leeds, the Saint Lucia Island Growers 100% chocolate bar has over 1,000mg of flavanols per 100g of chocolate – the highest ever recorded!
Howelton Estate is worth visiting for the view alone: perched high above Castries one sees the coastline up to the north of Saint Lucia, and even Martinique in the distance. Then there is the beautifully preserved architecture of the house, constructed in 1896. We recommend sitting on the verandah, sipping a coffee from the bar and taking in your surroundings. Paradise!
This is also the home of Caribelle Batik
with gorgeous outfits and souvenirs available in the gift shop. Plus Howelton Estate encourages local artisans: see the extraction process for extra virgin olive oil; buy a unique and stylish bag from Christi Creations. And stock up on bars of chocolate made professionally on site – perfect presents for loved ones and folks back home – if you don’t succumb to temptation and eat it all!
Location and contact
Old Victoria Road,
Morne Fortune, Castries.
Tel. 452 3785.