Millot Plantations

Northern Madagascar

This beautiful plantation, established in 1904, is a leading producer of organic cocoa, spices and essential oils, and a visit to this little slice of paradise is not only highly informative but a true festival of the senses. The tour can be topped off with lunch in the beautiful old farmhouse. However, some readers report that the welcome here is less than gracious.

Against a backdrop of stunning scenery, the formidable Mado, your guide, will invite you to taste or smell every plant on the farm, from the lychee-like raw cocoa beans straight out of their husk, to potent green peppercorns soaking in brine and vinegar. You’ll also poke your nose in the distillery, where ylang-ylang essential oils or freshly picked vetiver roots will fight for your olfactory attention. During your visit, you’ll see how each plant is grown, picked and processed (the distillery for perfume plants, and preparation areas for cocoa and spices). Millot employs more than 800 people, the majority of them women. The plantation also supports the village school, which most of the employees’ children attend.

Lunch includes dishes prepared with products from the plantation, including a wondrous chocolate cake with vanilla cream. Make sure you try Mado’s exquisite chocolate-flavoured rum (made with the plantation’s cocoa, of course). You can also sleep at the farmhouse, where there are three simple and atmospheric rooms (per person Ar200,000 including dinner).

Because the plantation spreads over 15 sq km, you’ll need a vehicle. If you don’t have your own, you can hire the plantation’s for the length of your visit (maximum three people Ar90,000).