Monday, February 17, 2014

Morne Coubaril Estate and Plantation - Soufrière , St. Lucia

On my recent cruise on the Seabourn Pride one of the ports we visited was St. Lucia. My sister and I decided to go off on our own to explore, we paid a visit to the Morne Coubaril Estate and Plantation. The Estate and former Plantation grows cocoa, coconuts, coffee beans and is home to many many beautiful plants and flowers grown in their wonderful climate. The estate is open for tours and has a zip line installed later for the more adventurous. The 250 acre property showcases traditional growing methods and gives a glimpse at how cane juice was squeezed from sugar cane. Guides show how coconuts are opened by hand on a stake. Cocoa is grown, fermented, dried on racks in the sun, oiled, polished by foot by a man dancing on them, crushed and then formed into chocolate sticks for cocoa or shaving onto desserts.There are also buildings depicting life on the plantation. The current owner of the Plantation house itself is French, from Martinique and had to rebuild the original plantation house after a fire. Not far from the sulfur springs and Volcano, the trip is hugely worth your time. The rich volcanic soil makes for excellent crops all of which you can sample fresh picked. Please enjoy some of my photos.
Cocoa Pod in the tree
Coffee Beans

Coffee Beans
Cocoa House on the Plantation
 Below are pictures of the cocoa making process. The fruits are opened, you can suck on the white pods, the locals call them M & M's, then they are dried, polished by foot and ground into cocoa powder or made into stick form that can be grated.
The just picked Cocoa Pod - beans are inside the whitish soft fruit, which we were given to suck on while we visited, pretty cool.

The cocoa beans

Beans placed on long trays which roll out the side of the building to dry in the sun

polishing bowl

polisher doing his job by foot !

finely ground cocoa powder

Below is a look at a machine used to squeeze cane juice from sugar cane . You can see the can coming through the large metal cylinders. The Donkey is the power for the turn of the cylinders and his reward is the crushed cane. Don't think he has great teeth.

The Donkey

Donkey making the cylinders turn

Cane squeezed through the cylinders

The next process demonstrated was how coconuts are split, using a sharp metal stake the hard outer skin is split quickly by an estate worker, we drank the fresh coconut water and ate the delicious coconut meat and the root. Our friend then described how the coconut is used to root a new tree.

splitting the coconuts

splitting the coconuts

coconut water

coconut root, a grainier taste than the flesh
if you let your coconut sit out to dry it will root

successful day on the plantation !

There is so much to show I will end by some of the scenery and produce that the plantation grows and harvests.

Yams and other root vegetables

Sadly I can't recall the name of this it is in the banana/plaintain family but has another name

Breadfruit and assorted other fruits from the estate

Sorrel, tastes kind of like hibiscus, Chef Jes made a wonderful sorrel sorbet onboard

The vine growing wild  is  vanilla and there were bean pods all the way up the tree !

If you ever get the chance to visit St. Lucia and you can pull yourself away from the beach, a visit to Morne Coubaril Estate and Plantation is definitely worth the visit !

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