Dominica, an island of rich vegetation, mountains, the Caribbean Sea … and CHOCOLATE!!!!!! While Dominica may not be among the largest of the world’s chocolate producers, it is certainly developing a reputation as a great producer of high-quality organic chocolate.
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Gary and I took this tour as a cruise ship excursion while on the Carnival Glory. We didn’t quite know what to expect but we’re very interested to learn about the history of the estate and of course make and sample chocolate! You know how I love chocolate.
Bois Cotlette Estate
The trip on the bus was a bit harrowing — reminding me of a few bus tours on those narrow switchbacks in Italy — and bumpy at times due to unpaved road. But our tour guide and bus driver seemed confident, so I settled into my seat for the 45 minute drive up the mountain.
The Bois Cotlette Estate is 53 acres of volcanic soil. It is self sufficient where they grow their own food, capture water, and generate green energy. It was name after a tree and has a 290 year history – making it the oldest surviving estate in Dominica — producing cocoa, coffee, and sugar cane,
Making Organic Chocolate at Bois Cotlette Estate
The estate itself is beautiful. You are greeted by very knowledgeable guides and the owners wife who is also the chocolatier. They take us on a brief tour explaining the history of estate.
We saw ruins of a windmill.
Then we followed the path of chocolate from breaking open the cocoa shell, to harvesting the raw beans, through the drying and grinding the beans into cocoa powder.
You also get to taste the fresh cacao fruit, right off a tree, and taste the cacao in different stages of production. You’ll taste the raw cacao nibs after they’ve been roasted and get the chance to grind the cacao down into powder.
Then you’ll visit the test kitchen to see the entire process of how large chocolate blocks are tempered and turned in chocolate chocolate delights. When they asked for volunteers to help temper the chocolate, I immediately raised my hand.
We were each give a Candy Melting Pot (like this one) and we had to stir the chocolate until it reached a certain temperature (yes, my arm did hurt a bit after all that vigorous stirring) and then pour the chocolate into molds.
While we volunteers finished up with tempering our chocolate and pouring them into molds, the rest of the group went into an enclosed open-air facility where we tasted various chocolate rum drinks (fruited-punch, tea, coffee), and several different types of bon bons. By the time I got to there I was a bit sick of chocolate — what did you say? — let’s just say that after we poured the chocolate into the molds, there was some left in the pot that we got to eat. It was delicious going down, but then I got a chocolate/caffeine high. I ended up saving my bon bon samples and took them back on the ship with us.
You’ll get a chance to buy some of the chocolate and coffee!
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Dominica!! Gary and I thought this was the best tour of our cruise.
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