cacao cuisine is king at Hotel Chocolat Boucan

If you truly want to become immersed in the world of chocolate while visiting St. Lucia, there is no better place to be than Hotel Chocolat Boucan, a small resort of 14 deluxe rooms overlooking the mesmerizing Petit Piton on the southern end of this delicious Caribbean island.


Our mesmerizing view at Hotel Chocolat Boucan

Whether it’s “Cacao Cuisine” (a full menu created around the wonders of cocoa), the “Cocoa Juvenate” spa treatments that wrap and pamper you with cocoa-based products, or the “Tree to Bean” and “Bean to Bar” tours of the Rabot Estate plantation where cacao is grown and harvested, British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat makes sure all your chocolate dreams come true when you visit their  Boucan Hotel & Restaurant.

Boucan is a boutique property built on the historic 140-acre Rabot Estate, where cacao has been grown since 1745, making it the island’s longest-producing cacao plantation. For the past 260 years, cacao has been grown and exported to various countries, who have been making delicious chocolate from it and selling it abroad. All that will change in 2014, as Hotel Chocolat is building a chocolate production plant on its Rabot Estate, where chocolate can be made right from the fermented, dried, and roasted beans in the Hotel Chocolat tradition.

I had the pleasure of visiting the British chocolatier’s Rabot Estate Bistro in Borough Market in London, met company co-founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell, and tasted a wide selection of Hotel Chocolat chocolate as well as a selection of its cacao cuisine. I knew I had to visit the St. Lucian property to complete the experience. I was grateful for the invitation of a hosted visit, and was not disappointed in my findings. Hotel Chocolat Boucan truly is paradise for chocolate lovers looking for immersion into the world of chocolate in every possible way.



The “Cacao Cuisine” found at Boucan is a fusion-style of cooking into which cacao/cocoa is used as a seasoning or flavour enhancement. It is never over-bearing, and provides a cocoa/chocolate essence to the menu as opposed to the more poignant style of chocolate cooking you might experience in a chocolate molé sauce popular in Mexican cuisine and some other countries.

At Boucan, crushed cocoa nibs are always on the table as a seasoning alongside the salt and pepper. I was really pleased at how the pure cocoa gently enhanced our food, and was totally blown away by the quality of the cuisine we enjoyed during our three-day stay. The cocoa-infused gazpacho at Boucan (pictured above) is the best gazpacho I’ve ever had.The full menu is online to tempt your taste buds. Every item we sampled was extraordinary.


Chef Ron at Boucan explains how everything is made from fresh herbs and local ingredients

My only complaint about our visit to Hotel Chocolat Boucan was that they didn’t have any of the extensive line of Hotel Chocolat chocolate products onsite for sale. I understand the logistics of why. Shipping it back from Britain where the cocoa is made into finished chocolate creations would make them cost prohibitive. Gratefully, that is expected to change when Hotel Chocolat’s St. Lucian chocolate factory goes into production. That will then truly transform this amazing property to the ultimate level for any visiting chocolate lover.

Have you been to Hotel Chocolat Boucan in St. Lucia? Have you experienced Cacao Cuisine? Are you a fan of Hotel Chocolat chocolate? Have you tried the St. Lucian chocolate they produce? Are you captivated enough by the idea of chocolate travel to book this culinary adventure for yourself? Let’s talk!

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

42 Responses

  1. adriano says:

    This is an amazing food experience. Love the pictures. Anyway thanks for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading it.
    adriano recently posted…Sonic Drink MenuMy Profile

  2. The only cacao products I know are chocolates and cocoa powder drinks. Never knew it can be transformed into various delicacies!

  3. Can I just say that I’m jealous of your chocolate travels…
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  4. Leo says:

    Awesome blog. I am glad to read your article amazing written and easy to learn.
    Thank you so much for the helpful share.
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  5. james says:

    Hi Doreen.

    Surviving the snow okay? What are your favourite wines to drink with chocolate (and with which types of chocolate)? Do you have a beer and choc favourite?


  6. Arianne says:

    You’re so lucky to have such an amazing food experience. I love chocolates and I seriously didn’t know about cacao used as seasoning. It’s new for me. How I would love to have chocolate adventures same as yours. Thanks for sharing, Doreen!

  7. Sandra says:

    I love chocolates. Thanks for the info about these cocoa beans. I will surely try making my own cocoa cuisine which I can boast in the whole world!

  8. Veronica says:

    Your travels are just so enticing. I can’t wait to go on adventures like this myself. For now I’d have to appreciate it online. Through your blogs. Thank for sharing your experience.
    Veronica recently posted…New Years Eve Cruise in Sydney 2012 Harbour Fireworks Cruise!My Profile

  9. Emilia says:

    Your chocolate adventures are definitely breathtaking. How I wished I could do that for a living. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Takes us a long way.

  10. Kristine says:

    You have posted really good pictures. I love chocolates. Very nice of you to share your food experience to us. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  11. I’ve always wanted to go to St. Lucia. I hope I get the chance to visit this hotel someday. It sounds wonderful.

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Michelle: Yes, I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked St. Lucia. With absolute honesty, there wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about our stay, despite the fact that we had a couple of days of rain. Even that was beautiful, seeing the rainbow over the Petit Piton, and another double rainbow across the water. And Hotel Chocolat is a really nice place to chill out and eat some amazing food. I hope you get to enjoy it someday soon. 🙂
      Doreen recently posted…cacao cuisine is king at Hotel Chocolat BoucanMy Profile

  12. This post reminds me of that moment in “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” when Marilyn Monroe discovers a diamond tiara and gushes, “I just love finding new ways to wear diamonds.” Except in your case, Doreen, it’s new ways to have chocolate : )) I’m trying to imagine what a chocolate nib looks like without resorting to Google, and I have visions of sort of a chocolate pen – which I guess is what you write with? Just kidding. You have the most fun job!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…The brave female cabbies of New DelhiMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      My dear Krystyna: You’ve caught me. I should have posted a pic of cocoa nibs. I will do that in the next post. But to imagine what they look like, just think (dark) chocolate brown coarse gravel, and you’ll get the picture.

      Better yet. Aren’t you a Toronto-based gal? Get yourself over to SOMA chocolate maker (King St or Distillery District locations) and buy yourself a bag of cocoa nibs. They are absolutely divine — and very addictive!

  13. Wow, this looks quite amazing. Something we and our subscribers would surely love. How did you ever leave a place like this??

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Jordana and Bernard.

      Well to put it as our butler said at Jade Mountain (did you read the post at chocolatour-goes-zen-at-jade-mountain/) … “you can’t return unless you leave.” It is indeed my goal to return to St. Lucia. It truly is the ultimate destination for chocolate lovers.
      Doreen recently posted…cacao cuisine is king at Hotel Chocolat BoucanMy Profile

  14. Purnima says:

    Wonderful share Doreen .
    I never thought that chocolate could be used as a seasoning and it indeed looks tempting . I would love to visit Hotel Chocolat Boucan , it would be an amazing experience .

  15. Boucan sound like a great place. Having crushed cocoa nibs on the table as seasoning had to be the coolest thing ever. :-). I also love the fact that the Rabot Estate has grown chocolate since 1745. What a great experience that must have been all around:-)
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Who Wins A “D.R.E.A.M. Catcher’s” Book?: BookMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Indeed, Susan. Hotel Chocolat Boucan really provides the chocolate-loving visitor with total chocolate immersion. I didn’t get into details of the chocolate scrub in the spa, but let me tell you … it was divine! And even their wine list is specifically selected to pair with with chocolate and cacao used in the culinary offerings. Knowing your love of wine and fine food … YOU would love it!
      Doreen recently posted…cacao cuisine is king at Hotel Chocolat BoucanMy Profile

  16. Agness says:

    Doreen, what an amazing experience! After visiting my blog you should know how much I love eating chocolate and cacao. This hotel looks amazing and I am hurry looking at your cocoa-infused gazpacho 😉
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  17. Sounds like heaven. As your UK Chocolate research companion, I can say their chocolate was amazing! Sounds like double amazing having it served in so many dishes on a full menu. Yummy!
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  18. Doreen says:

    Thanks, Jeri! I do feel most fortunate that I am working on this project, and that so many amazing opportunities have presented themselves so that I can share them here on the blog and in my book. So excited to be halfway thru the process!

  19. Jeri says:

    I would give anything to be able to have this experience. You are one lucky lady! It’s also good to hear that a chocolate production plant is coming to the island.
    Jeri recently posted…Author Interview: Joyce SchneiderMy Profile

  20. Salika Jay says:

    What an amazing food experience. This place seem to give chocolates a new meaning as far as food is concerned. There are few things I’d like to try from that menu.
    Salika Jay recently posted…Find The Perfect Budget Car Parking In UK AirportsMy Profile

  21. Mary-Anne says:

    Yes, Chef Ron’s training/creations were truly creative from the breakfast mini smoothies to the dessert chocolate sampler. He was well spoken and versed in making liquid chocolate from the nibs which we had a ‘hand’ (all beit sore) in grinding. I enjoyed all the items I tried without question.

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Mary-Anne: Yes, isn’t it amazing how everything we ate and drank over the 3-day stay at Hotel Chocolat was absolutely superb? The quality of their cacao cuisine is what makes them stand out from the rest.

  22. Who’d have thought that chocolate (in the form of cacao nibs) would be seasoning for food, along with salt and pepper? How elegant and decadent, and yet (I’m sure) delicious! That is something I’d like to try.
    As I haven’t been fortunate enough to go to any of the spots you’ve been, I love visiting all of these places through the blog. I just wish there was “smell-o-vision” on the blog! Maybe the book will have “scratch and sniff” pages. :}

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Christine: Great idea! Scratch and sniff would be fun for this book. Perhaps in a future edition. Right now, I’m trying madly to stay focused and get the 1st edition done. But it’s so hard as I keep discovering new chocolate destinations and new chocolate makers that I must get to know. Lord. I feel so privileged to be the chosen one to be immersed in the world of chocolate. May I never come up for air!

  23. Doreen says:

    Hi Cheryl and thanks for your comment.

    Yes, the cacao nibs grinder on the dining tables was a really nice touch! I was surprised at how much the cacao enhanced the flavours of the already amazing food.

  24. Geek Girl says:

    Wow… having chocolate on the table as a seasoning is pretty cool. I envy you your chocolate travels. But I appreciate the fact that I can see and learn about it here on your blog. 🙂
    Geek Girl recently posted…Guest Post & Recipe By Anne NewsomeMy Profile

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