My husband and I recently took the tree to bar tour at the Hotel Chocolat. It was fantastic! As foodies, we're both very interested in how food gets from "farm" to "table". Cuthbert Monroque is a wealth of information when it comes to cacao. We found him and his apprentice, Kurt Regis, a complete delight and were impressed with not only their knowledge, but the rigor and standards that they employ in running the plantation.
The first half of the tour is all about the cacao farm and how the beans are farmed, harvested, and processed. As visitors we were able to help graft a new cacao tree, under the tutelage of an expert grafter. The second half of the tour focused on the process of making chocolate bars. We got to grind chocolate nibs and craft our own (rather pitiful) bar, and then make a much better one using chocolate processed by the hotel.
After the tour we chose to stay and eat at the Hotel Chocolat, where every dish has some cacao or chocolate component. It was fabulous! The setting, high in the trees is lovely, and the food was outstanding.
The tour is not cheap, but nothing on the islands is, and we felt it was money well spent to learn something so new and different.
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