Tree to Bar

As always the food seems to have taken over my last Caribbean adventure, however I haven’t forgotten to blog about our choc-tastic experience.

Our very own Hotel Chocolat gets all its indulgent, velvety stash from the Rabot Estate in St Lucia. This cacao plantation owned by Hotel chocolat is responsible for all of our guilty pleasures.

A and I decided to do something different this time around and not just lie on the beach and turn into brownies . The Tree to Bar tour set up by the Rabot Estate was a great experience and made the holiday even more special. If it wasn’t for A’s love for chocolates we wouldn’t have done this but i am glad he pushed for it.

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It was fascinating to learn about a hundred different types of cacao and how they start to creep up from the tree trunk. The pods not only come in this beautiful deep red but also in an orange, yellow, green and burnt red- a good method of recognizing the type of cacao pod.

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Don’t quote me, but i think this was No. 95. This pod isn’t ready just yet to harvest as the indentation hasn’t turned slightly yellow.

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If I am wrong this man will definitely kill me. Mr Cuthbert was the man responsible for imparting all the knowledge about the plantation and the pods, and boy did he take his job  seriously. He was so passionate about his job that it reinstated my belief in the idea of no matter where you are in the world but if you enjoy what you do it just makes the journey a little more worthwhile. I was compelled to pay attention to each word he was saying.

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The fun bit had only just started, these two men showed us how to graft our own cacao plant and once the plant was ready to face the real world and become a tree we would get a call from the Rabot Estate asking us if we would like to visit again and do the needful. I am soo ready to go back to St Lucia!

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Tadaaaaa……… Choc-xited much!

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The beautiful beans that are left out to dry. The farmers are meant to be extremely efficient as St Lucia is a rain forest and its very rare that a day goes by without a couple of passing showers. We witnessed one just while we were there and in no time all the beans disappeared.

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This is one of my favourite pictures. Hands of a hard working man with his livelihood.

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The second part of the tour involved us making our own chocolate bar with cacao nibs, cacao butter and sugar.

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Me at work. This better be one hell of a bar.

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I was tempted to lick the whole pot

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I think the gentleman read my mind and got me a spoon

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Those white things that you see are cacao beans and all the amazing chocolate martinis that we slurped on were made using cacao in its raw form

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Having a bit of a Murad Osman moment with the gigantic pitons. Someone’s trying to be original, maybe not!

I did say a little farewell to St Lucia at this moment but that definitely didn’t mean that I wasn’t coming back.

Until next time! Sparkle on!

 

 

A Dose of Vitamin Sea

We were millions of miles away from the cold dull rainy London, its not like I don’t love home but it can get quite depressing during the winter months. A quick trip to re-energise yourself with some vitamin sea is much needed.

The second leg of our holiday was at St Lucia which was only a 50 minute flight away from the stunning Antigua. The domestic airline wasn’t the most efficient as we had to wait for over an hour at the airport before we finally got to St Lucia at 10 in the evening. Possibly not the best car ride at night, we encountered far too many hair pin turns as they like to call them and an additional 1.5 hours to get to the hotel. I am assuming the ride would have been more enjoyable in the day as St Lucia is a mountainous island with tons of fishing villages and some beautiful views.

I had already made up my mind about this Caribbean island and Antigua was at the very top of my list, not that the list was very long. I even remember telling A that I am so glad we had more days in Antigua.

However we only had to wait for 8 odd hours till our jaws dropped.

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They dropped and how. We woke up very early in the morning as per holiday standards and there was no one at the beach at 7 am. We could hear the splashing of the waves and the cool breeze was blowing through my freshly washed hair. We had found another pearl in the Caribbean.

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Before we headed for breakfast we were told we could reserve our spot at the beach by keeping some of our belongings on the beach chairs. I didn’t need to be told twice to drop all our sun creams at our preferred location.

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These huts made for some beautiful pictures or perhaps A & I were just over-excited.

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Being greeted with these beautiful colours first thing in the morning would make anyone smile from ear to ear. We had a choice of fresh grapefruit, passion fruit or watermelon. No prizes for guessing but I may have single-handedly finished the jar full of watermelon. The grapefruit was calling out to us but we were bursting from all sides by the time we finished our omelettes.

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We stayed at the sugar mill rooms which might not have had the same view as Hermitage Bay but they were a short walk away from the beach and had fluffy soft heavenly beds. I was almost on the verge of asking if we could buy their bed linen and mattress topper.

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I have a thing for white and dark wood, they make for perfect hotel rooms. I also seem to have developed a liking towards these plantation shutters after our holiday. We have them at our new home but its only after this trip that I have started to warm up towards them.

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I couldn’t get over our ibaby- his and hers. Useful tool for when you are on such a large resort.

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We had a few jaw dropping, eye popping moments, which I have tried to capture to the best of my abilities but it was hard to keep up. Sometimes it was just nice to soak in the moment and be aware of the sensory pleasures that one may not witness everyday.

The beautiful Pitons as the backdrop for the pool had us totally immersed.

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I wasn’t sure if I was in Koh Samui or the Caribbean but we had a crazy tuk tuk ride at Sugar Beach. I wasn’t going to get off so soon and only relented after much convincing from the driver who informed me that this was the primary mode of transport around the resort. Excited Much!

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As most of you may be wondering, where is the food ?!

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The Cane Bar culinary delights came as a refreshing change even though we had enjoyed all the grilled fish, prawns and lobsters prior to this meal. The soft shell crab cut roll with spicy mayo and a hint of mango and the chopped tuna with avocado and chilli were my favourites.

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If 50 shades of blue is your thing I would recommend a trip to the Caribbean Islands. I’ve already started researching my next holiday even though I am not home yet. Its just my thing and keeps me going through the year.

Bye now from the beach. More on some rainforest chocolate adventures in a couple of days. I promise I won’t be too long.

Caribbean Life

Don’t blame me if you are bombarded with a whole load of pictures that might make you envious. Please read and view at your own risk. You may even find yourself booking a getaway to the Caribbean by the time you finish viewing this post.

Hermitage Bay was our first stop and we didn’t know what was coming our way. White sands, clear turquoise waters, bags full of sunshine and insane amounts of watermelon daiquiri’s and pina colada consumption summed up out time at Antigua.

I am not sure if words do justice to this island, see for yourself.

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This is for real. I literally had to pinch myself sitting on the plane.

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The drive to Hermitage bay is a bit rocky as to maintain the exclusivity of the resort they haven’t developed the nearby roads. However we were blown away by the view as soon as we entered the lobby. We were greeted by a lovely lady who checked us in by handing over a couple of glasses of mojito’s.

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View from the room. Couldn’t get enough of it! Don’t forget to ask for suite no 26, it has the most stunning view of the bay from your infinity pool. Best place to sip some of those delicious pina coladas.

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More from the room. The hotel had a panoramic view of both the bay and the harbour.

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I always check out the bathroom first and this one didn’t let me down. The bath overlooking the ocean made for a perfect setting.

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Missing those beach chairs and suite 26 perched on the hill.

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We couldn’t resist, excited like little children who hadn’t slept the previous night. Finally the holiday had begun and we were on one of the most stunning beaches I have ever visited. Even though in Antigua none of the hotels had private beaches this one felt like one as it was on the southern end of the island not frequented by either locals or tourists, I guess not developing the roads came in handy.

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Turquoise and gold!

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Sunshine vibe!

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And gallons of cocktails….

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Demanded a selfie and……

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Some posing.

As A said ‘are you a good model or am I a better photographer’ who knows… But the stunning location definitely made for some great pictures and memories for a lifetime.

What I didn’t do this time was take any food shots, probably too involved in capturing the the fifty shades of blue in paradise. However the food was delicious, all the veg and fruits came from the hotel’s organic gardens and we tried numerous new varieties of fish which were caught every morning. The menus changed daily so we didn’t feel the need to step out and the chef came to us every other day to ask if you we would like anything special on the menu.

I was always a believer of Indian hospitality but I think this time around the Caribbeans may have just left us slightly behind.

I can hear you clicking away, just go ahead and plan a holiday.