Sunday, January 31, 2010

Caribbean Chocolate

When we went to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia on Jan. 14, 2010, we (I) really wanted to visit the Fond Doux Working Cocoa Plantation. I had, of course, read about it on the internet before our trip.  But what I hadn’t read was that even though the distance wasn’t far from the port, the roads were very windy, two lane only and very slow! The trip was a good hour or more through the mountains and tropical rainforest and

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past banana plantations and

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small villages

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with a beautiful overlook of the Grand Pitons peaks and into

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the fishing town of Soufriere. 

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After checking out the volcano and sulphur springs, we headed in our van tour to the Fond Doux estate.

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  Whoever wrote the grand review for this estate, plantation and tour, ought  to visit again!  

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But we still got to see two cocoa trees with the cocoa pods growing from newly green to ripe red. The other trees on the plantation are planted under the tree canopy to protect them – so the trees are just scattered here and there, not planted in rows.

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The pods are collected, split open where the seeds (or cocoa beans) are covered in a milky film.  The seeds are removed and washed and dried.

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They showed us the washed and drying cocoa beans on large wooden trays. That was the tour! 

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Then off to the side, Mike discovered an employee who was grinding the beans. First grind broke the beans into smaller pieces and the second grind into a paste like dough. This was then rolled by hand into small logs. We each tasted the cocoa paste and it was bitter and chocolaty. I bought one of the logs she made with a recipe book. The St. Lucians like to drink Cocoa tea with grated cocoa from these logs.  Still haven’t tried it out! Maybe today being a cool rainy day and I’m home with a cold would be a good time to give it a try!

Most of their chocolate is sold to Hershey’s in Pennsylvania.

Here is an album of our day in St. Lucia:

2 comments:

Jocelyn said...

Your post looks beautiful, Mom. I'm glad you were able to use Windows Live. I fixed the allignment of your first picture. I just hand to change the text wrapping to inline instead of left.

Sounds like the journey was the highlight of the trip here. Glad you got to see some cocoa on the trees.

Janet said...

That sounds interesting--the drive and the tour. I've always wanted to see chocolate actually being processed.