Thursday, 13 December 2007

Hotel Chocolat's Cocoa Plantation, Rabot Estate in St Lucia

Wow, a look at a real chocolate plantation!

hotel Chocolat's estate

The Rabot estate in St Lucia. Angus tells us the story of how he was sent a book about growing chocolate by a member of the chocolate tasting club.

After 3 years of care the plants will flower and then produce the cocoa pods. This takes 5 months before they are ready to harvest. The harvesting needs a sharp knife to avoid damaging the tree and the pods are rested for 3 days before being cut open revealing the cocoa beans inside.

They are fermented using the Maillard process which stops them germinating. After 7 days after careful turning and temperature checks they are ready to be moved to the drying trays. Once dried in the sun they are not sticky and they smell wonderful and are a rich mahognony colour. They are then sewn into hessian bags.

If you'd like to taste Hotel Chocolat's amazing chocolates then click here

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