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ISSU E # 3

n e ws & r e v ie ws st r a igh t from t h e conch

SPLAT!

This Easter, prepare for the unexpected. p5

AU T H E N T IC • OR IG I N A L • E T H IC A L


contents EGGSQUISITE The 2014 Collection

features 4 STRAIGHT FROM THE CONCH Why ask a banker to back you, when you can ask your friends? HC Co-founder Angus Thirlwell explains the Chocolate Bond. Plus our Top Picks to see and do this month. 5 CRACKING THE MOULD The Facet & The Splat: Enjoy a preview of our amazing new Easter egg designs. 6 FOOD & DRINK Adam Geileskey confesses why, technically, our gianduja is illegal. Plus: An amazing brownie recipe you must make this weekend.

8 THE ISLAND GROWERS  How our ethical trading scheme in Saint Lucia is revolutionising the island’s cocoa industry. 12 COCOA PLANET The latest happenings from the world of the Tasting Club and Hotel Chocolat, plus cocoa news from around the globe. 13 QUICK SNAPS You heard it here first: Tidbits and snippets to keep you informed.

7 Living in a box Our editor Iain Ball makes up for his personal shortcomings with some chocolate.

Page 5

14 THE CHOCOLATE TASTING CLUB Send us your idea for the Create a Chocolate competition. Plus, scores and comments from last month’s selections.

Editor’s note

Page 8

Don’t miss this month’s story about Saint Lucia, which goes right to the roots of how our ethical trading partnership with the island’s cocoa farmers creates a win-win situation for everyone, and that includes all of us who love great chocolate. Plus, calling all Tasting Club members: Make a little time this month for our Create a Chocolate competition. If you were a chocolatier, what would your signature chocolate recipe be? You dream up a winning idea, and we’ll make it. Find out how to enter on page 14. Enjoy the issue, and please do follow us online at hotelchocolat.com/thepod Page 12

Iain Ball, Editor

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Steve Bond

With thanks to this month’s contributors:

Don’t miss out on our exclusive Chocolate Tasting Club Easter collection. They are selling out fast, so reserve yours today at chocs.co.uk/easter Classic, Milk and Dark Collections £28.95 including delivery

Roseanna Whitelegg

EMMA COPE

Adam geileskey

PR & Social Media Assistant

Couverturier

Head of Chocolate Development

Roseanna joined Hotel Chocolat in November last year and has quickly immersed herself in all things chocolate and PR. When she’s not speaking to journalists, she’s busy baking. This month, she’s looking forward to meeting Beau Bunny.

When a new rare and vintage cocoa harvest arrives at our development kitchen, you’ll find Emma roasting and conching the beans to make the perfect chocolate. When she’s not doing that, you’ll find her singing and dancing around the kitchen, much to the amusement of fellow chocolatiers.

From the creation of our first filled chocolate to the start of our Bean to Bar experience and Cocoa Cuisine, Adam has been driving our quest for “Cocoa Excellence”. Most proud of: Making Cocoa Beer with his local micro-brewery.

Production: Editor: Iain Ball Creative Director: Timbo Rennie Assistant Editor: Alexandra Hare Senior Designer: Andy Linney Designer: Sarah Mckewan Designer: Louise Daniels Club Co-ordinator: Matt Jordan Photography & Video Content Creation: Daniel Hills Contributors: CEO Hotel Chocolat: Angus Thirlwell Managing Director CTC: Terry Waters Head of Marketing: Melissa Shackelton US General Manager: George Saul Nordic General Manager: Christer Oxenholt Head of Guest Relations Saint Lucia: Judy Buckley PR Manager: Megan Roberts Head of Buying & Merchandising: Simon Shutt Head of Purchasing: Matt Dickens Head of Chocolat Development: Adam Geileskey Head of Concept: Rachel Hillel Head of Operations: Andy Jones Head of International: Roger Williams

CONTACT US: Send your letters to The Chocolate Tasting Club, Mint House, Royston SG8 5HL, or simply email thepod@hotelchocolat.com or via our website chocs.co.uk


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Straight from the conch Cracking the mould Meet the Facet and the Splat, our amazing new Easter Eggs

Our chocolate is our bond

Paying interest in chocolate might sound like a wild concept, but our Tasting Club members and others had massive enthusiasm for our Chocolate Bond, which went on to raise almost £4.2 million.

Bored with banks? There’s never been a better time to invest in a Chocolate Bond, says Angus Thirlwell Four years ago, Hotel Chocolat launched its first Chocolate Bond. Like all great ideas, it sounds slightly bonkers when you first hear it, but why borrow money from big, unfriendly banks when we can ask the people who love our chocolate to support us? In return, we agreed to pay our bondholders a fabulous rate of interest, all in amazing Tasting Club chocolate selections.

“Like all great ideas, it sounds slightly bonkers when you first hear it...”

This fantastic support enabled us to invest in key areas: expanding our business in the UK, Saint Lucia and internationally, letting us create new skilled jobs at home, invest in new staff training, and upgrade to cutting-edge equipment that now lets us make even more inventive recipes. With the launch of our new Roast+Conch restaurants and Cocoa Bar-Cafes, and our sights set on expanding around the world, Hotel Chocolat is looking at a very bright and exciting future. And to help us take this forward, we’ll soon be launching two brand new Chocolate Bonds.

At Hotel Chocolat, an Easter egg is never just an Easter egg. It’s a feast for the senses, an edible indulgence, a toy, a magic trick, and, we think, a work of art. Just as with our iconic Ostrich and Extra Thick Eggs, we love playing with ordinary expectations of the Easter egg to create something truly original. Both our fun, cheeky Splat Egg – which you can see in all its glory on this month’s cover – and the elegant, sophisticated Facet Egg are great examples of our

exploration of innovative sculptural designs with unexpected angles and amazing textures. The Facet Egg takes the geometric pattern of a cracking egg and turns it into a striking and beautiful ‘chocolate diamond’, while the Splat Egg throws a surprising, explosive twist that we still can’t look at without laughing. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

An Easter Feast for the Eyes An adventure in pale blue, gold and black, with organic shapes plucked from nature – our new Easter Sleekster and H-Box features with this amazing new design, inspired by the fabrics of artist Paul Nash. Adorned with elegant florals and pastel shades, we think our seasonal selections are as delicious on the outside as they are on the inside. hotelchocolat.com/easter

Available in stores and online now.

Invest in our Chocolate Box Bond, and we’ll repay you with our monthly Tasting Club boxes and Excellence selections, with a value that amounts to an amazing 7.33% interest rate. We’re also launching a new Voucher Bond, which pays an interest rate of up to 7.25% , redeemable as Hotel Chocolat vouchers you can spend in stores. Interested? Send us your name and address at thepod@ hotelchocolat.com, and we’ll send you a Bond Invitation Document to tell you more!

TOP PICKS

Things to do, places to go, people to see A Delicious day out You’ll find us offering Cocoa Juvenate beauty therapies at Britain’s biggest chocolate event, The Chocolate Festival. Turn to page 13 to find out more. festivalchocolate.co.uk

sLEEP TIGHT Be enchanted by Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty, beautifully performed by the Royal Ballet. On at the Royal Opera House until April 9th. roh.org.uk Free Chocolate Alert! Spend over £35 this Easter and you’ll receive our stunning Taste of Spring free gift, including eight seasonal chocolates and a stunning Easter scene tablet. hotelchocolat.com

A Sleek Easter Our Easter Sleekster is back and better than ever, with an irresistible selection of delicious Egglets and elegant bow tie bunnies. To order yours, visit hotelchocolat.com/easter

Stick your oar in We’ll be cheering the local boys from Cambridge in the annual boat race on April 6th. Oxford were last year’s victors; can we reclaim the title? theboatrace.org

Step Back In Time Head to London’s Southbank for the Classic Car Boot Sale on 15th-16th March. There is something for everyone here from classic vehicles, to vintage fashion, delicious street food and impromptu musical performances. southbankcentre.co.uk

Sshh… Ever seen a film so good, you couldn’t stop talking about it? We’d love to tell you about this one, only... it’s top secret. secretcinema.org

Not a member yet? Until March 31st, you can join the Chocolate Tasting Club for the special price of £6.95! You’ll also receive a free Munch & Nibble gift, filled with moreish chocolate-enrobed snacks. chocs.co.uk

Come to OUR cocoa paradise There’s still time to book your place at our luxury Boucan hotel in Saint Lucia, with an amazing 40% discount on a week’s stay in June. Chocolate Tasting Club members get an extra-special gift...hotelchocolat.com/boucanoffer

Get festive The Festival season is on its way and announcements have begun! Wireless have Kanye, Reading and Leeds have Blink 182 and Bestival have nabbed the return of Outkast. Where will you go? thefestivalcalendar.co.uk


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Food & Drink

LIVING in a

You can be a better person. Or you can just give them chocolate, reports Iain Ball

i

The Chocolatier’s Tale THE ILLEGAL GIANDUJA

get home to find a big box of chocolates waiting in the lobby of my apartment building. It has two names on it. One is mine, and the other is Hotel Chocolat.

Adam Geileskey

“I have a confession to make. Our house gianduja is one of our classic, all-time great chocolate recipes. It’s so fabulous, in fact, that it’s illegal. Let me explain.

Our plan was just to make the best gianduja we could. So we packed our recipe with 65% ground hazelnut. Under EU laws, “gianduja” is a protected name with strict rules on how it’s made, so we double-checked the law to make sure we’d put enough hazelnut in it. It turned out we had more than enough. Far more. Amazingly, the rules also say: No more than 40% hazelnut. Yes, we could have changed the name, or reduced the hazelnut. But this is our gianduja, and we don’t compromise on nuttiness.”

Hazelnut & Pecan Brownies Succulent dark and milk chocolate brownies with a hint of vanilla and crunchy hazelnuts, pecans and coconut. Makes: 12 brownies Ease of preparation: Easy Difficulty: 20 mins Cooking time: 40 mins Ingredients 200g/7oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 220g/7¾oz Hotel Chocolat 70% Dark Chocolate Drops 200g/7oz caster sugar 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out 150g/5oz plain flour, sifted 1 tsp baking powder, sifted 75g/2oz pecan nuts, broken into pieces 75g/2oz whole hazelnuts 3 tbsp desiccated coconut 150g/5oz Hotel Chocolat 40% Milk Chocolate Drops

METHOD

1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease and line the base of a 20cm/8in baking tin. 2.  Melt the dark chocolate drops and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally. 3. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the sugar, beaten eggs and vanilla seeds. Fold in the flour and baking powder then add the pecan nuts, hazelnuts, coconut and milk chocolate drops. 4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake until the top is firm but the centre is still slightly soft when pressed lightly, about 30–35 minutes. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin on a wire rack and cut into 12 squares.

I promised earnestly that I would replace the pots. But I haven’t. Instead, I’ve just completely forgotten about it. “Hello,” I say, trying to remember how many months ago I moved in.

“Listen, Nick, I’m really sorry about the pots,” I say earnestly. The look of a man making an effort to recall a trivial incident makes a cameo appearance on Nick’s face. “Oh, the pots. That was ages ago, wasn’t it?” he says. “I can’t make any excuses,” I hear myself blather. “I’ve just been really busy. And I had a terrible cold.”

“There is an awkward silence. We both stare at the box. I very much want to hide in it.”

I give it a gentle poke to feel the weight. “Hello!” Startled, I turn to see Nick, my neighbour, standing in the doorway of his ground floor flat in his T-shirt and shorts. We’ve only met once before, on the day I moved in. I had to explain to him how I’d managed to destroy two terracotta pots full of his nasturtiums with a sofa.

“You’ve got a big box, haven’t you?” says Nick, smiling. “I answered the door when the delivery man came. Offered him a hand.” “Oh, right,” I say. “Thanks a lot, Nick, I appreciate it.”

“Oh well, I’ve got new planters now,” Nick shrugs. “So, Hotel Chocolat, eh? Aren’t you lucky? I love their dark, high-cocoa chocolate.”

I think I’m starting to see where this is going.

“Cocoa beans are a great source of antioxidants, you know,” says Nick. “Rich in flavonoids.” “Yes, I know,” I say.

“Just in case something happened to the primroses.”

“A bit like nasturtiums.”

There is an awkward silence. We both stare at the box. I very much want to hide in it.

Nick is already closing the door. “Two dark Sleeksters. Just leave in them in the lobby.”

 atch this recipe being created online W at hotelchocolat.com/recipes

“Okay. What do you want?”

Vox chocs

For the shopping list...

Cocoa soundbites from people who should have known better

“The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.” Macho Gianduja Available in Selectors from £3.85 at hotelchocolat.com

70% Dark Chocolate Drops & 40% Milk Chocolate Drops Easy-melt baby buttons perfect for baking or snacking. Utterly gorgeous. £8.50 hotelchocolat.com

Cocoa & Peppermint Infusion Bags Crushed roasted cocoa shells & peppermint for a refreshing, in-thecup infusion drink that really picks you up. £9 hotelchocolat.com

BOX

Gianduja is a blend of chocolate and hazelnuts, a specialty of the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s similar to a praline, except it has a greater proportion of hazelnut to chocolate. A milk chocolate gianduja must contain a minimum of 15% hazelnut, and a dark no less than 20.

I already know what’s in it: a dazzling array of product samples for me to examine, from an Everything Sleekster to Chocolate Hazelnut Spread to Cocoa Juvenate Revive Body Butter. I gaze upon it happily, half-expecting someone in a sparkly costume to jump out of it and shout, “Ta-da!”

Nick is a biology teacher. He has a beard almost as thick as the hair on his legs. He smiles expectantly.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams from Paris, November 27th, 1785.


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The island Growers Seven years ago, Saint Lucia’s cocoa industry was close to extinction. Now, Saint Lucian farmers working with Hotel Chocolat grow some of the world’s most celebrated cocoa. Discover how we re-connected luxury chocolate with its roots.

W

hen we first told farmer Laurence Auguste that we wanted to buy his beans at a price far above the normal rate – every year – he nodded politely. He told us he’d think about it.

To Laurence, the offer sounded like a tale taller than an 80-year-old cocoa tree. We could hardly blame him for not taking us seriously. In 2006, it was hard for Saint Lucian cocoa farmers to feel optimistic about anything. The island’s cocoa economy was in a death spiral. Every harvest had become a lottery with a meagre jackpot. All the island’s cocoa was sold via a single export organisation, which worked like this: You left your cocoa at the warehouse and they would try to sell it on your behalf, with no guarantees. If they sold it, you got the world bulk-cocoa price, minus deductions for the middleman. And then you waited six months to get paid. It was becoming a route into poverty. Growers couldn’t afford the risk of investing in good quality seedlings. Instead, they were tearing out old cocoa groves and planting crops like bananas and even carrots, which they could sell to local hotels to feed the growing tourism industry. It seemed only a matter of time before Saint Lucia’s once-prized variety of Trinitario cocoa disappeared into the history of chocolate. And we didn’t want to let that happen. In 2006, we bought our own cocoa plantation on the island: the 250-yearold Rabot Estate, a beautiful but distressed property dating back to the French colonial era. We wanted to connect growing cocoa with making chocolate, and we knew that Saint Lucian cocoa was good enough to bind the two together. Left: Cocoa famer Laurence Auguste seals the deal with Hotel Chocolat’s Estates Manager Phil Buckley to become our first Island Grower partner

Although almost every single Saint Lucian bean was disappearing into characterless bulk sales, less than 100 years ago the island had been famed for its exceptionally fine cocoa.

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The ISLAND GROWERS If properly fermented, dried, roasted and conched, Saint Lucian beans could produce chocolate with a dazzling array of tasting notes, ranging from classically rich cocoa to black tea and ripe yellow fruit, grassy olive oil and dry red Burgundy. We were in the process of classifying every cocoa tree on our estate and getting our plantation back to work. We wanted to put Saint Lucian cocoa at the heart of Hotel Chocolat, and we needed local partners who would grow us more. But there was one slight problem: To do that, we’d have to rejuvenate the island’s entire cocoa economy.

“Hotel Chocolat has breathed new life into cocoa growing in Saint Lucia. For the first time we have a fair price, prompt payment and a secure future.” Laurence Auguste, Cocoa Farmer

Over the years, none of the dubious schemes that had promised to fix Saint Lucia’s ailing cocoa industry had ever taken root, increasing the sense of cynicism that prevailed among farmers. So what could we do? Our estates director Phil Buckley, never deterred by a seemingly

impossible mission, worked with his team on a plan to make it happen. Phil’s team travelled up and down the island meeting groups of 10 farmers at a time. They introduced Hotel Chocolat and Rabot Estate and asked farmers to join us as ‘Island Growers’.

The Deal The deal we offered Laurence and other local farmers was this: • We’ll guarantee to buy your whole crop each harvest, so you can be certain it’s worth investing money in your farm. • We’ll pay you directly, with no middleman deductions, at a rate that is always higher than world bulk-cocoa price – and you’ll be paid within a week. • We’ll provide free technical help to improve crop quality and give you access to top quality cocoa seedlings at a strongly discounted price.

The condition was that we would only buy their beans ‘wet’, just after harvesting, and do the fermenting and drying ourselves. We do that so we can keep the process consistent enough to ensure the high flavour quality we need. It took him three months to be persuaded. Finally, convinced that we meant what we said, Laurence Auguste of the Ti’Deicer plantation joined us as our first Island Grower partner in Saint Lucia. Laurence stuck with us, and his confidence inspired 70 more local farmers to join us in the first year. By 2011 we had 120 cocoa partners, ranging from start-up farmers to well-established estates returning to cocoa. And we kept our word on price. In 2013, we paid our Island Growers US$5.14 per kilo of cocoa, more than twice what they would have been paid on the world bulk cocoa market. A key value in the scheme is helping Island Growers to keep farming.

We buy their harvests at a fair price that lets them reinvest, and provide support to help them grow better quality cocoa, producing a sustainable win-win for everyone. Sadly, Laurence passed away in October 2007, but his wife Angela has held on to the Island Grower partnership that he started with us. Today, more than 150 Island Grower partners have joined us, and their beans now create some of the finest chocolate in the world. We’ve won several prestigious awards for chocolates made with Saint Lucian cocoa, including a 2013 Gold Great Taste Award for our Rabot 1745 Saint Lucia Island Growers 70% Milk. “Hotel Chocolat has breathed new life into cocoa growing in Saint Lucia,” Laurence once said. “For the first time we have a fair price, prompt payment and a secure future.” And we’re just getting started.

ISLAND GROWERS: FROM TREE TO EGG We’ve made some truly amazing chocolate with the cocoa our 150 Island Grower partners produce, ranging from a 50% milk to an amazing 100% dark, all available in our rare and vintage Rabot 1745 collection. Our gold Great Taste Award-winning 70% Milk Island Growers also features in our signature Rabot 1745 Extra Thick Easter Egg. Tasting Notes: Dangerously sensual. A rush of roasted cocoa with a silken creaminess, fleeting notes of black tea and ripe yellow fruit. Only 10% added sugar – our high-cocoa milks satisfy with less. Experience our range of Saint Lucia Island Growers bars in stores or online at hotelchocolat.com

The cocoa trade Illustrations by Adam Geileskey

WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS A standard cocoa trade: There are at least eight people in the long chain between the cocoa farmer and the chocolate consumer. Each one takes a cut of the profit made from selling the chocolate, eroding the farmer’s share. The link between consumer and grower is so stretched, there’s just no connection or accountability.

WHAT WE DO IN SAINT LUCIA Our Island Growers scheme: There are just three people in the chain – the Island Grower, Hotel Chocolat, and you! Less people means more profit for farmers. The better quality we get from giving technical support and subsidised seedlings means a better value product. Above all, it connects the real story of cocoa farming with the luxury of eating chocolate.


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Cocoa planet news from around our world Ghana Helping to train the next generation of famers A big part of our support for the Osuben cocoa farming community in Eastern Ghana is providing access to training. Our partners in Ghana, the Green Tropics Group, have set up a Farmers’ Centre in Osuben, which is still a focal point for regular training in a wide range of skills, for example, learning how to pollinate cocoa flowers by hand to ensure the fullest possible crop. We also do a fortnightly show for local cocoa farmers on the Konogo-based Virgin City Radio. It inspired “off-air” training sessions for farmers with consultants from the Cocoa Research Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency and other NGOs

Cocoa Cuisine at John Lewis

uk and government departments, providing a huge boost for the community. In 2013, Tasting Club Director Terry Waters came up with the idea of the Young Farmers Support Scheme to offer training, equipment and support to promising young people, and it will be taking on a new group this year. In 2014, we’ll also be establishing an agricultural training programme to sponsor enterprising young people who want to pursue foundation courses in agriculture, like those offered by the Agriculture Research Station in Kade and other Agricultural Training Centres around Ghana. This will help them to pursue careers either as farmers or community agricultural advisers. Our first potential candidates are being interviewed right now, and we’ll introduce you to them in a future issue.

JOIN OUR GHANA APPEAL: We’re building a medical centre for the cocoa-farming community of Osuben, and you can help. How you can help: We still need nearly £7,000 to complete the centre. If you’d like to donate, please send a cheque made payable to: The Cocoa Farmers’ Fund, and send it to: CTC Ghana Appeal, Freepost, ANG10659, Royston, SG8 5YD CURRENT:

£ 3 8,9 5 6 TARGET: £45,000

Left: Terry on his visit to Virgin City Radio Below: One of the students on the Young Farmers Support Scheme

Location: London, Brighton, Bristol and Oxford

We’re delighted to have opened our Cocoa Bar-Cafe in the John Lewis store at the St James Centre in Edinburgh. You’ll find us on the 2nd floor, nestled between the men’s and the women’s departments – perfectly situated for a fantastic mid-shop lunch! You can also watch our resident chocolatier roasting and grinding cocoa beans, taste our made-on-site chocolate straight from the conch, or sample it in one of our unique barista cocoa drinks.

The Chocolate Festival If tugging on your wellies and dancing around a muddy field isn’t your idea of fun, we’ve found a festival that might appeal much more. Come and visit us at The Chocolate Festival – four fantastic celebrations of cocoa and chocolate taking place this March and April in Brighton, Bristol, London and Oxford. We’ll be at all four locations treating lucky festival-goers to treatments in our pop up Cocoa Juvenate spa. Take a few moments out of your day to enjoy a hand massage and exfoliation using our gorgeous Revive Body Polish and Hand Cream; and learn all about how cocoa can enrich and beautify your body, both inside and out. TALK TO US

Location: Osuben, Kwahu District

If you come along to the London venue, we’ll also have a large chocolate stand with us, so you can taste and try to your heart’s content! Brighton 29th-30th March; Bristol 5th-6th April; London 11th-13th April; Oxford 18th-19th April Tasting Club members and Hotel Chocolat guests can claim an exclusive discount. You can buy two General Admission tickets for £7 instead of £10. Just book your tickets at festivalchocolate.co.uk and enter the code ‘HotelChocolat’ at checkout.

Get in touch!

Vietnam Location: Mekong Delta & Dong Nai Coming soon: The 2014 harvest for Rabot 1745 We loved the flavours we discovered in the last batch of beans we bought from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and Dong Nai province: a gentle warm-up of roasted olives and brown bread, followed by cherries and redcurrant. But the 2013 harvest has been deliciously different.

Location: Boston Our new Cocoa Bar-Cafe gets a warm welcome in Boston (despite the snow!) We recently held a press opening for our new Cocoa BarCafe in Boston, and we were thrilled with the response. We offered our guests canapés and mini tidbits from the cafe’s exciting main menu, including smoked salmon and white chocolate horseradish, goat’s cheese and Creole chutney, and our chocolate peanut spread with banana. The luxuriously steamy cups of hot cocoa went down particularly well, no doubt partly due to the sub-freezing temperatures outside! Please do come along and check out the buzz for yourself. Visit us in Boston at 137 Newbury Street.

The new beans deliver chocolate with a fantastic flavour profile: a stronger opening hit of redcurrant, some mouthwatering bitterness and a long, leathery-tobacco finish. The quality of Vietnamese cocoa only seems to be improving, so we’re excited about what more Vietnam will have to offer us in the future. Expect to see our new 2014 harvest Rabot 1745 Mekong Delta & Dong Nai bars in stores and online soon. We’ll keep you posted! Above: Press and special guests gather at the new, rather snowy, Cocoa Bar-Cafe

We love hearing from you and this month we had a great response from reader Allan Harris about our Roast+Conch restaurant in Leeds: “Our meal was delicious and the service was superb (thanks Joanna) and we cannot thank the staff enough for a memorable lunch.” He took a stunning snap (above) of our Tray of Temptation. Email us at thepod@hotelchocolat.com

Above: London, Brighton, Bristol and Oxford

Below: Floating markets and travelling down the Mekong Delta

USA

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EDINBURGH

THE POD

Explore our Rabot 1745 rare and vintage chocolate collection at hotelchocolat.com/rabot1745

WATCH OUT

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Hello, Beau… Did you meet Beau Bunny, our devilishly handsome Easter celebrity, in a town near you last year? If not, keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, you might just catch a glimpse of him again very soon… facebook.com/HotelChocolat twitter.com/HotelChocolat

QUiCK SNAPS CONTENT SECTION HERE


Join the Tasting Club at chocs.co.uk/join

THE POD

14

Score online or by post and you’ll automatically be entered into a Prize Draw to win some Hotel Chocolat goodies. We’ll also be donating 25p to our Ghana Appeal for every scorecard we receive, so you’ll be helping to build the Osuben Medical Centre.

Follow us

Tasting Club Reviews Create A Chocolate Competition Entry Form

DISCOVER • REVIEW • SHARE

Sketch your chocolate here:

RABOT 1745 selection P34*

fortified selection F14

If you imagine it, we might make it. Six winners will receive 5kg of their chocolate and their recipes will appear in our Tasting Club boxes!

No. Chocolate Name

How to enter: Complete the form and send to the address below, or email it to us at thepod@hotelchocolat.com. Entries close April 4th. Name

Telephone no. Email address

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

1

A Buche of Single Estate Ecuadorian with Olivier Nicod Roasted Marcona Almonds, Orange & Cardamom

2

Tainori 64% Dark with Feuilletine

Rhona Macfadyen

8.6

3

Trinidad 75% Praline

Olivier Nicod

8.5

4

Saint Lucian Milk with Earl Grey

Rhona Macfadyen

5

Ecuador Allspice Truffle

Olivier Nicod

1

Amaretto Amour

Kiri Kalenko

36%

8.8

2

Baron De Sigognac VSOP Armagnac

Rhona Macfadyen

33%

8.8

3

Nut Soother

Rhona Macfadyen

29%

4

Piña Colada

Kiri Kalenko

29%

5

Cointreau Toffee

Rhona Macfadyen

27%

8.7

Member no or postcode

15

Name of chocolate Describe the filling of your chocolate

1

Describe the shell and decoration of your chocolate

2

1

3

2

3

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

Amaretto Amour – “Our favourite, but the highest we can go is 10/10!” 10/10 Mrs Pam Hobbs – Mullion

Java East Region 74% milk – “Perfect. My birthday last week; what a perfect thing to get. This box is heavenly, I recommend if you like chocolate you must try. Only thing is, you will hide it and only bring it out when you’re on your own. Thank you for making my birthday.” 9.5/10

Baron De Sigognac VSOP Armagnac– “Really good - Armagnac is wonderful

combined with the lovely smooth ganache. It gives a warm, rich, woody alcoholic taste, but is cut nicely by the dark chocolate.” 8.5/10

Ms Kate Steele – Colwyn Bay

Miss Jennifer Smith – Uxbridge

Send your entry to Create a Chocolate Competition, Mint House, Royston, SG8 5HL. For terms and conditions please see chocs.co.uk/createachoc

PRIZE DRAW

PRIZE DRAW

Our prize draw winner is Mrs Alison Dale from Folkestone who wins a Sleekster Liquor Selection.

Our prize draw winner is Mrs H Saraphe from London who wins a selection of bars from Peru.

Cut along dotted line

Classic selection D169 No. Chocolate Name

dark selection K102

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

No. Chocolate Name

AlL Milk selection M24*

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

No. Chocolate Name

27%

8.6

1

Pink Champagne Truffle

Olivier Nicod

Elements selection S80

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

24%

8.0

1

Caramel Feuilletine

Rhona Macfadyen

26%

8.7

1

Cognac Truffle

Olivier Nicod

2

Cointreau Bombe

Kiri Kalenko

26%

8.6

2

Cointreau Bombe

Kiri Kalenko

25%

8.6

2

Raspberry & Garden Mint

Kiri Kalenko

24%

7.6

3

Red Fruit Crumble

Felicity Plimmer

24%

8.6

3

Red Fruit Crumble

Felicity Plimmer

22%

8.4

3

Toffee Apple

Rhona Macfadyen

20%

7.8

4

Pink Champagne Truffle

Olivier Nicod

23%

8.5

4

Raspberry & Garden Mint

Kiri Kalenko

20%

7.5

4

Caramel Feuilletine

Rhona Macfadyen

20%

8.5

5

White Crispy Praline

Rhona Macfadyen

21%

8.4

5

Caramel Feuilletine

Rhona Macfadyen

20%

8.5

5

Caramelised Cinnamon Almonds

Tasting Club

20%

7.5

1

2

3

1

2

3

1

2

3

No. Chocolate Name 1

Caramelised Cinnamon Almonds

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

Tasting Club

28%

8.0

2

Red Fruit Crumble

Felicity Plimmer

27%

8.3

3

Toffee Apple

Rhona Macfadyen

24%

8.3

4

40% Milk Chocolate Ivory Coast

Olivier Nicod

24%

8.4

5

Less Sweet Pistachio Praline

Kiri Kalenko

16%

7.7

2

1

3

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

Caramel Feuilletine – “A melt in the mouth indulgence.” 10/10 Mrs Shelagh Carter – Hexham

Cognac Truffle – “Supreme!! Excellent taste.” 10/10 Mr Richard Tidey – Brigg

Pink Champagne Truffle – “Champagne always get my vote.” 8/10 Eileen Lothian – Bradford-on-Avon

Caramelised Cinnamon Almonds – “Moorish beyond belief.” 8.5/10 Mr Rob Sandford – Plymouth

Red Fruit Crumble – “Tasted exactly as it’s name suggested it should.” 9.5/10 Mr Gregory Hammond – Sleaford

Red Fruit Crumble – “I was not able to taste all the ingredients promised

Raspberry and Garden Mint – “I loved this! Both flavours came through

in description, too sour overpowering taste!” 4/10

without either overpowering the other. Mmm.” 9.5/10

Toffee Apple – “Exactly like a toffee apple, how did you even get that in a chocolate!?” 10/10

Mrs Monika H. – London

E Pensley – Edinburgh

Heather Cameron – London

PRIZE DRAW

PRIZE DRAW

PRIZE DRAW

PRIZE DRAW

Our prize draw winner is Mr Robert Dixon from Worsley who wins a Sleekster Everything Selection.

Our prize draw winner is Mrs Carol Gibson from Stocksfield who wins a Sleekster Dark Selection.

Our prize draw winner is Mrs Penelope Elliott from Poole who wins a Milk Sleekster Selection.

Our prize draw winner is Miss Lyndsey Feakes from Haywards Heath who wins a Cookie Choc Chip Giant Slab.

*Not currently available in the United States


0212014626

An iconic Easter easter Sunday – April 20 th

Easter may be late this year, but we’ll deliver our selection of magical seasonal delights right on time. Place your order now – we’re ready when you are. Last Orders: April 17th at 6pm

The Egglet Extra Thick Egg ref 300374 £28

The Milk SPLAT! Egg ref 300371 £12.50

The Half & Half Ostrich Egg ref 300383 £75

The Dark Facet Egg ref 300381 £20

View our full Easter collection at hotelchocolat.com/easter


The Pod Issue 3