Jade Mountain Club, St. Lucia – Part Two: Chocolate
Adam and I had the honor to stay at the best resort in the entire Caribbean, Jade Mountain (click here to read about our stay). Jade Mountain has their well renown restaurant, Jade Mountain Club, at the top of their resort that leaves guests with a breathless view of St. Lucia’s famous Piton Mountains. The restaurant features “Jade Cuisine” created by James Beard Award Winning Chef, Allen Susser, and is an exclusive dining experience to only the Jade Mountain guests. The desserts at Jade Mountain Club are helmed by pastry Chef Sherma Peter.
Besides an award winning chef, Jade Mountain also has their own organic farm, Emerald Farm, and a chocolate lab. Breakfast and lunch menus do not change, but every night the dinner menu changes based on what the chefs collect that morning at their Emerald Farm. Guests can always expect the freshest vegetables, fruits, nuts and protein for dinner. Honestly to work at this resort is probably every chefs dream – being able to be creative and cook something new everyday with the freshest ingredients from their own farm is priceless. On top of everything else the chefs are not the only ones who can visit the Emerald Farm, guests can tour the farm too and that is exactly what Adam and I did – in fact it was the highlight of our trip!
Also at the Emerald Farm are over 1000 cocoa trees that Jade Mountain utilizes for their chocolate lab and spa treatments. The Jade Mountain Estate Chocolate is pure excellence – you can literally taste the Caribbean with its rich, fruity, earthy and aromatic essences. Jade Mountain offers several different packages, one is a chocolate package where guests enjoy chocolate to eat and drink, a chocolate spa treatment, a tour of the Emerald Farm to see the cocoa trees and a chocolate class to learn techniques and make their own chocolate bars. If guests what an even more ultimate chocolate experience they can attend Jade Mountain’s chocolate festival that is held once a year. Throughout the resort guests are always able to enjoy the benefits of Jade Mountain’s chocolate starting with truffles waiting in their room, chocolate martinis at the bar, an entire dessert menu devoted to chocolate and chocolate spa treatments. Guests can also purchase Jade Mountain Estate Chocolate bars which are only sold at the resort – needless to say we bought a lot the day we left to go back home.
Here is the process of Jade Mountain’s bean to bar:
|Cocoa tree flower|
|Cocoa pod starting to grow|
|Cocoa pod still growing|
|A perfect looking cocoa pod|
|Cocoa beans go inside and get fermented then dried|
|Inside the pod are cocoa beans|
|Dry cocoa bean|
|Dry cocoa beans get processed in this machine, “winnower”|
|From the machine cocoa nibs are made|
|Jade Mountain Estate Chocolate|
Chocolate bars are hand molded and wrapped to perfection
Jade Mountain Estate Chocolate Bars
The number percentage stands for the amount of cocoa (actual chocolate) is in the bar. The cocoa percentage is both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The cocoa solids contribute the flavor whereas the cocoa butter contributes the smooth texture. The higher the percentage the darker or more bitter the chocolate will be. As the cocoa percentage decreases from 100% the sweeter it gets from the additions of other ingredients such as sugar and/or milk.
Wow! Let me tell you something when we were able to try different chocolate at the store in Jade Mountain amongst other guests everyone tried this one and we were all surprised by how much we enjoyed this bitter piece of chocolate. This proves how beautiful the cocoa beans are in St. Lucia that with very little sugar added the chocolate here is amazing. Of course it is very powerful – it is bitter, but the chocolate still has some fruity, dark, robust notes to it. Tiny pieces of this chocolate bar goes a very long way.
The chocolate is do delicate and naturally sweet for being 78% cocoa. The robustness from the cashews comes through in the beginning with a hint of bitterness, but finishes on a fairly sweet note. Roasted cashews in almost every bite that brings some nuttiness to the sweet dark chocolate. More roasted cashews would make this chocolate bar even better.
Outstanding! Chocolate with more chocolate – all from the same cocoa beans. Everything blends together nicely with tiny bits of crunch from the cocoa nibs. This chocolate bar is a little fruity, definitely sweeter and lingers in the taste buds. This is truly a chocolate bar to savor.
If your a fan of lemongrass this is the perfect chocolate bar for you. The lemongrass essence hits your palate right away and carries through till the chocolate has completely melted away. It is sweet, clean, and refreshing. It has a very calming nature that makes you feel like you were spending your day relaxing at a spa. In some bites there are tiny bits of lemongrass that bursts more flavor into the chocolate. Pure ecstasy.
Chocolate Krispie Bar
This chocolate bar is a soft, succulent ganache that lays on top of a crunchy layer of rice krispies that is enclosed in a chocolate shell. Very fruity and sweet with a smidgen of tanginess. America needs more candy bars like this one.
Jade Mountain Estate Chocolate Truffles
|From top right going clockwise: Salted Caramel, Chipotle, Speculass, Peanut Rock|
Chocolate Spiced Martini
Like everything else on this magnificent island this martini is made with coconut milk. Everywhere you look there are always fresh coconuts either hanging on trees or laying on the Islands soil. Of course this martini would not be on the chocolate dessert menu if it did not feature chocolate. Mixed with the coconut milk is a chocolate liquor with chocolate sauce drizzled on the side of the martini glass for both a mesmerizing look and flavor. The martini has a nice kick of spice from the cardamom and star anise that is balanced well with the sweetness from the chocolate. Creamy, rich, sweet and boozy – a great way to end any romantic evening!
Banana Split 2.0
Chef Sherma takes this classic ice cream dessert and turns it into a playful and well executed deconstructed banana split. An amazing chocolate cake that is so rich and delicate, chocolate almost oozes out. Chocolate rum raisin ice cream sits on top of some chocolate cookie crumbs and adds a little crunch of texture. The ice cream is excellent – the rum stands out amongst the chocolate and balances out the richness from the chocolate cake. The banana is actually the golden star on this plate probably because the bananas on this island are remarkable. Grown of course on the resorts estate and tastes so fresh and sweet. It is lightly caramelized with sugar, but the banana could taste just as good on its own. Nevertheless the rum raisin ice cream and chocolate cake compliment the caramelized banana well making this grown up banana split better than the classic!
Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
Bitter chocolate tart that was so rich this small portion was sufficient. The edges of the tart were dense and hard whereas the ganache in the center was smooth leaving a nice contrast of textures. The bittersweet chocolate tasted like heaven because of Jade Mountain’s one of a kind cocoa beans and though it was extremely rich the chocolate carried a slight sweetness – that’s Jade Mountain chocolate for you. The torched coconut marshmallow was pretty awesome, but with the chocolate it almost got lost. It was light and fluffy with smoky tones from the burnt sides – not too dark, perfectly toasted. Strawberry compote and lemon gel definitely brightened the dessert up with some tartness and color. Almost like a palate cleanser to enjoy more bites of the decadent bittersweet chocolate tart.
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich
Pretty presentation for an ice cream sandwich – even something simple is presented in an elegant way at Jade Mountain. Really enjoyed the ice cream sandwiches in triangles than the typical round or rectangle shapes. Thick soft chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream stayed intact between the cookies – not always an easy task. The berry sauce and mango gel were nice compliments, some guests might not bother with them, but we certainly dragged our ice cream sandwich through both and it enhanced the flavor of our ice cream sandwich immensely. Made our dessert more tropical after all we are in the Caribbean.