Saturday, June 17, 2023

St Lucia Excursion Review: Small Group Taste of St Lucia and Chocolate Making Workshop


We took the Small Group Taste of St Lucia and Chocolate Making Workshop on our March 2023 Celebrity Edge sailing. It’s important to note our ship docked in Castries. Other itineraries may dock further south on the island.


Our meeting time was 12:15 pm on the pier.  We lined up and left promptly at 12:30 pm. We had 30 people in our group.

It was about a 3 minute walk down the pier to the bus. The group split into two small buses.

The bus left at 12:37 pm. We arrived at the Howelton Estate at 1:11 pm. This took longer than usual. We spent about 20 minutes in traffic due to a funeral. Along the way, we paused for a view overlooking Castries and the Governor General’s mansion. We did not get out of the bus.

At the Howelton Estate, we walked down about 25 stairs and then another 4 stairs to get to the deck where the workshop took place. We split into two groups of 15 people standing around a counter with our ingredients laid out in front of us. We were given an apron.  One person did grab a chair so they could sit for the workshop.

The chocolate making workshop began at 1:18 pm. We mixed cocoa nibs, cocoa butter, and sugar with a mortar and pestle. You do have to stir a lot.  At the end, the staff member leading the workshop will help you finish the mixing process. I found this workshop to be very informative. The staff member did a great job explaining all the ingredients, the process, and answering questions.

At 2:00 pm, we finished making the chocolate and they took it to refrigerators to set. Each slot was numbered and we received a ticket with that number so we’d know which bar was ours. Then, it was free time. A small gift shop was up the stairs. I thought it was one of the more elegant gift shops I’ve been in with a lot of beautiful items.

One glass of soda, rum punch, or water was included in the excursion. We were given a ticket to use. Beer was available for $4 USD.

We spent about 45 minutes waiting for the chocolate. One guide led part of the group to see some of the vegetation on the property. I thought the hour wait felt a bit long. The other guests who enjoyed shopping in the gift shop thought it was just about the right amount of time. Bathrooms were available.

The finished chocolate bar was dark chocolate. They wrapped it up with foil. It was a little mushy so we ate ours right away. It was delicious.

At 2:54 pm, we left Howelton Estate. We arrived at Pink Plantation at 3:03 pm. The Pink Plantation has a beautiful gardens. Chewy showed up around explaining all the native plants and their uses. At the same time, staff were passing out Antigua treats: sour orange lemonade, salted cod fritter, and hot and fresh fried bread. I loved all the snacks. Touring around the garden with 30 people was difficult, but Chewy has a big personality and is so passionate about the plants. The garden paths were a bit uneven so some of the group sat in the main house. The main house had a small gift shop and bathrooms.

At 3:42 pm, the garden tour ended. At 3:48 pm, we were back on the bus. At 4:10 pm, we were dropped off back at the pier.

I recommend this excursion. I liked that it was something different. I really enjoyed making the chocolate and Chewy’s passion for the gardens. It is quite a bit of standing, but chairs are available.

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