La Maison du Cacao
La Maison du Cacao: History of cocoa
La Maison du Cacao (Cocoa House) is a memorable place to learn more about the history of cocoa. You will also be able to see the different stages of the cocoa production as well as a guided tasting experience.
The cocoa tree comes from Central and South America more precisely from Mexico and Amazonia. The cocoa culture has been adopted in Guadeloupe Archipelago during the 17th century. Today, cocoa is still manufactured in the archipelago even though the level of production is less important than sugar cane or banana. Sometimes it is hard to make a clear distinction between Cocoa and Cacao. Cocoa starts the same way cacao does: as harvested beans from the plant’s seed pods. However, when processed the cocoa is heated at much higher temperatures.
La Maison du Cacao is located at the heart of a former place where cacao was produced. To access the site, you will need to go to Pointe-Noire Township in Basse-Terre Island.
Visiting La Maison du Cacao
The main purpose of La Maison du Cacao is to help you understand the various phases of cocoa production. Bilingual (English and French), knowledgeable and passionate tour guides will make outstanding presentations and answer all of your questions. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
The first part of the visit is a tour of the nice tropical garden showing how the cacao plant grows. There are multiple species of cacao trees called Criolo, Forestero, or Trinitario.
The second part consists of a demonstration on the cocoa harvest, fermentation, roast and grinding with some tasting at each stage. You will have the opportunity to sample from the raw cocoa pods to the nibs to the final chocolate product all the way through. Then, you will see the various types of chocolate from white to milk to pure cocoa chocolate as well as local cacao-based products.
Finally, the visit will end by tasting a delicious homemade hot chocolate. All the raw and finished cocoa products will be sold in the souvenir shop.
The souvenir shop
If you want to extend this memorable experience, you will be able to buy various chocolate-based products at the souvenir shop. The choices are endless including: cocoa butter, cocoa paste, cocoa beans jam, bar of chocolate and punchs. So don’t forget to end your visit there, whether it is to buy chocolate gifts or just treat yourself.