In the shadow St. Lucia’s steep Piton Mountains, lays Emerald Estate, a growing cacao plantation that’s poised to not only enhance the romantic and culinary cache of the island, but also provides a model for local chocolate production.
Developed by the architect-owner and hotelier visionary behind the lower Caribbean’s luxe Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts, Nick Troubetskoy, the all-organic plantation with over 1,000 cocoa trees is part agricultural experiment, part business diversification.
Chocolates have long made their way to the resorts’ welcome baskets and dessert menus, and for some time Jade Mountain’s boutique Kai en Ciel spa has offered chocolate-inspired treatments. But, with its new surplus of cocoa, guests now have the opportunity to indulge themselves at any time—and learn more, with hands-on Bark to Bar tours, chocolate tastings, and cooking classes where students learn how to tease confections from Criollo and Trinitario beans.
Jade Mountain’s pastry chef Wouter Tjeertes and his assistant Peter, have turned Mr. Troubetskoy’s former office into a chocolate laboratory, where they do everything from bean extraction to turning cacao husks into tea to producing edible baskets, butterflies, and exotic flowers; dipping local ginger in dark chocolate; and molding bars infused with fragrant lemongrass or St. Lucia cinnamon.
Emerald Estate chocolates are 100-percent organic and made simply with cacao, sugar, and all-natural flavorings. The lab produces hundreds of bars a week, but the groundwork is being laid for exponential output over the coming months and years, and it’s actively trying to solve the challenge of exporting chocolate to the U.S. and beyond.
Emerald Estate—along with the handful of other cacao producers on St. Lucia—benefit from the island’s fertile volcanic soil, and naturally steep slopes for gardening, which provide better drainage. The local government is also incentivizing St. Lucians and giving away 300 cacao trees to any farmer willing to do the work.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that one of the world’s most romantic resorts, Jade Mountain, with its dreamy sanctuary suites with personal infinity pools and Piton vistas, is diversifying its offerings with the ultimate hand-crafted indulgence and edible gift of love? If the success of Emerald Estate chocolate continues, we predict a fruitful and lasting marriage.