On the side of Basse-Terre, in Pointe-Noire, there is a museum, easily accessible from the main road which allows us to discover the world of chocolate. La Maison du Cacao offers tours of their garden which include the tasting of some of their products. For lack of time, I suggest you buy some items at the shop and taste them. Be careful because they will melt if left in the sun.
This establishment is, in my opinion, a victim of its success, for the simple reason that you will rarely find open places with the possibility to taste chocolate in Guadeloupe. The employees, to please everyone, try as best they can to respond to the multiple requests on site for a visit, on-site reservations while the telephone is ringing, the ongoing presentations and to serve the customers at the shop. It goes without saying that in wanting to fill all the requests, they end up being out of breath. The priority seems to be given to those who are there, especially since the site’s capacity is limited.
Ideally, if you can, it is best to book ahead, because departures are in small groups at fixed times and the traffic of the place seems to vary by the minute. We managed to get an opportunity in less than an hour of waiting. Be aware that there are no options for seating while waiting, in the gardens or at the tasting except for a single small bench. Probably a few things to improve. The café-terrasse was closed during our visit in early August 2022, but the temptation was strong to lift the chain and sit down, but I resisted.
Once the time has come and passage is permitted, the small garden opens up to us and we can walk around freely. The site includes explanatory panels on the history of cocoa and its processing. All are in French. What you learn will be partially taken up by your facilitator later. Also along the route, statues and puzzles await children. Everything takes place in French. No need to go too fast because the presentation of the previous group is in progress and you must wait for the next one. The garden itself is relatively small so it’s easy to get around quickly. It is not the best part. The 30-minute stroll can be long, especially after waiting an hour before your departure.
The snack and the explanations of the presenter are the most interesting. We waited while standing, to have access to small pieces of chocolate whose cocoa value decreases over the addition of sugar. The tasting is also paired with explanations. Although it was her first presentation, the person was friendly and sought answers to our questions.
Finally, after the tasting, you can stop to buy some of the products.
The presentation was, for me, instructive, but if you have already visited elsewhere, and do not speak French, the manufacturing technique is the same. You can stop by the shop to buy some examples and savor them whenever you want.
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