a chocolate lover’s dream come true
There are many chocolate festivals and events around the world that are merely comprised of chocolate tastings and demonstrations. The Chocolate Festival at Jade Mountain is unique in that you actually get to visit the plantation where the cacao is grown, learn about the harvest, fermenting, and drying of the cocoa beans, and then eat the chocolate made from those beans — in addition to tastings, demonstrations, and a decadent menu sprinkled with delicious creations made using the cocoa and other fresh ingredients grown right on the resort’s own Emerald Estate plantation.
Being immersed in the world of chocolate on one of the world’s most beautiful islands? At one of the world’s most outstanding resorts? What could be better?
I’d been invited to the Chocolate Festival at Jade Mountain back in February of 2012 and after months of anticipation, was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit the mesmerizing island of St. Lucia, stay at a multi-award winning resort, experience the culinary creations of award-winning Consulting Chef Allen Susser and Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden, and eat sumptuous chocolate locally grown and made. Last month I finally experienced the festival and it did not disappoint. The previous post introduced you to Jade Mountain as a sensory place to stay.
This post will introduce you to Jade Mountain as a place to celebrate chocolate, for afterall, the purpose of this blog is to encourage you to experience the world with chocolate travel in mind.
The Chocolate Festival at Jade Mountain kicked off with a cocktail party celebrating the dreamy choco-tini, a delicious vodka martini made with Bailey’s Irish Cream liquer and Emerald Estate liquid chocolate. The next morning we toured the plantation owned by Nick Troubetzkoy architect/resort owner/aspiring chocolate mogul, where the cacao (primarily the Trinitario varietal) and 32,000 pounds of tropical produce are grown annually. And we learned how to make the hot cocoa tea, St. Lucia’s blend of freshly roasted cocoa, ginger, lime zest, cinnamon, bay leaf, milk, and water. You’ll find cocoa tea served all over St. Lucia. Some places use nutmeg and vanilla in their recipes. A touch of citrus (Jade uses Star Anise) and cardamom can be added to make an iced chocolate chai tea — my preference to the hot cocoa tea.
chocolate delight for in and on the body
We also learned how to make chocolate delicacies such as Bittersweet Chocolate Rum Mousse, and Chef Allen’s own recipe for chocolate truffles. And we enjoyed the “Chocolate Delight,” the spa treatment at the Jade Mountain spa during which we were wrapped in warm and cool layers of melted chocolate and fed estate-made chocolates to take the experience over the top!
The menu in the exclusive dining room at Jade Mountain, the Jade Club, features a number of entrees with bold or subtle cocoa flavourings. The choice is yours. And delicious chocolate desserts. And if you want to bring the flavour and aroma of Emerald Estate Chocolate home with you, can you can purchase the highly aromatic small batch organic chocolate bars as well as the cocoa sticks (used to make the cocoa tea) in the gift shops at both Anse Chastanet and at Jade Mountain.
Stay tuned to the Jade Mountain website for updates on the 2013 Chocolate Festival as the dates have not yet been determined.
Have you been to a chocolate festival that blew your mind? If so, please share the details! And then please join us back here the week of January 14th, when we will continue to experience chocolate bliss on the island of St. Lucia.