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Club News

The monthly newsletter from the Tasting Club

Issue 1304

A Taste of

Summer It’s really is on the way! And we’ve got a sneak preview of what it has in store for us…

See page 12

Are you a winner? We found a rather compromising photo that was just crying out for a caption. Have you won one of three Sleekster Everything Selections up for grabs? See page 15 for the winners!

Ghana Appeal Robert of our partners in the Green Tropics Group (left) breaks the ground while the Chief of Obo (in blue) looks on

Let the building

commence!

We could hardly wait to put pen to paper this month because there’s some extremely exciting news from Ghana to share with you concerning our big project this year, the building of a community health centre in Osuben.

1304NL

The news is that building works are already underway and for good measure we have also held a ground breaking ceremony that attracted all of the local VIPs – including the Member of Parliament for the area, the big regional chief, the district health officer and more. The traditional tribal structure is still very much a powerful force in Ghana and so for community projects like this it is essential to involve all of the chiefs... continued on page 8...

Target:

£45,000 If you would like to contribute to the Appeal to fund the Osuben Medical Clinic (CHPS)

Current Amount:

£19,007

Please send a cheque for whatever amount you can give made payable to: The Cocoa Farmers’ Fund, and send to: CTC Ghana Appeal, FREEPOST ANG10659, Royston, SG8 5YD.


Letter from the guest

Editor

F

ittingly, our first Guest Editor is Peter Harris, who co-founded the business that was to become Hotel Chocolat and The Chocolate Tasting Club back in 1987, with Angus Thirlwell. After 26 years, Peter is still highly active in the business. One of his favourite jobs is talking to new recruits about values, principles and what really matters. With over 1,000 people in our wider team now, that is some talking, but Peter has always relished spreading the word.

What’s in your chocolate?

Criollo cocoa

When I meet our new recruits on our induction course, I always talk about the importance of our members, our guests and our customers. I say that they are the ones who are in charge of this business. If we continue to delight them with our unique and original chocolates and provide a first class service then we can look forward to an exciting future.

CONTENTS Page

In my travels I meet many Club members in the Hotel Chocolat shops, at business events, at social engagements and at Boucan Hotel in Saint Lucia. The spirit, enthusiasm and loyalty of Chocolate Tasting Club members is an honour to see. I love to hear about the experiences and views on how we are performing. We have tried very hard to stick to our values of originality, authenticity and ethics. We have grown the business responsibly, reinvesting the profits and doing the things that we think are right. And these are frequently brave and pioneering decisions such as – investing in major manufacturing in the UK, acquiring an historic cocoa plantation and starting to export our chocolates.

1, 8-9

Medical Centre: Building begins

3

What’s in your chocolate: Criollo Bean

4

Prize draw results

4

Stores: Huntingdon Factory Shop

5

New special: Fortified 13 is here!

6

Focus: Classic Selection

We are proud of our relationship with you, our members, and we never take it for granted. Thank you for your continued commitment.

7

Chocolate & me: A Club member’s story

I do hope you enjoy reading this issue of Club News.

10-11

Monthly box scores & feedback

12

Preview: Summer Desserts

13

How far has your box travelled?

13

Pioneers of chocolate: John Cadbury

14

Dark selection: Changes are coming

14

Special results: Winter Puddings

15

Caption competition: Results

Send your letters to The Chocolate Tasting Club, Mint House, Royston SG8 5HL, or simply email editor@ hotelchocolat.co.uk or via our website: www.chocs.co.uk. We are waiting to hear from you! Contributors: Peter Harris, Simon Thirlwell, Claire Wade and Terry Waters, © The Chocolate Tasting Club plc 2013

2

Peter Harris Co-Founder & Guest Editor

GUEST EDITORSHIP

will be from a wide cross-section of people in the club’s orbit – fellow cocoa growers, eminent people in their field, leaders with a point of view, club members with an interesting angle and the occasional celebrity member. To nominate or apply for a future Guest Editorship, drop us a line editor@hotelchocolat.co.uk

I

n this series we explore the ingredients that go into good chocolate. Cocoa, in a similar way to grapes and fine wine, falls into two distinct categories, bulk or fine. And within those categories there are three main types of cocoa – Criollo, Trinitario (both fine cocoas) and Forastero (bulk cocoa), which all have their own characteristics. Criollo, meaning ‘native’, most probably originated in Central America and is traditionally considered the king of all cocoa beans. However, due to natural cross breeding, there are thought to be very few pure Criollo trees left. However, the recent upsurge in demand for fine chocolate and, therefore, cocoa, has gone some way to remedy this.

Due to its rarity and fine qualities, it is the most expensive cocoa in the world. With a high percentage of cocoa butter, the beans have an aromatic, distinctive, lingering flavour and lack bitterness, which makes them much sought after for making elegant single origin and single estate chocolates that really showcase its unique flavours. Criollo cocoa often features in our dark chocolate tasting batons and you’ll find it even more often in our Purist Selection.

A typical Criollo pod


Prize Draw CHOCOLATE

scorers’

Let us have your scores online or by post and you’ll automatically be entered into this Prize Draw every month to win Hotel Chocolat goodies!

Classic Selection

Next month’s prize is a Goody Bag of the Season.

Dark Selection Prize draw winner is Mr Steven Pottinger from Shetland who wins a Dark Signature Selecion. Next month’s prize is a Dark Chocolate Dipping Adventure.

Elements

Selection

Prize draw winner is Mrs Lesley Gwynn from Sheringham who wins a Nut Mania Giant Slab. Next month’s prize is a Caramel Pecan Pie Giant Slab.

Purist

Selection

Prize draw winner is Mr Simon Francis from Brentford who wins a Purist Collection. Next month’s prize is a selection of Rabot Estate. 77% Dark Slabs.

All Milk

Selection

Prize draw winner is Mrs Celia Murdoch from Twickenham who wins an Oysters & Champagne Selection. Next month’s prize is a Milk Adventure Peepster Selection

DON’T FORGET

THE OUTLET STORE IN HUNTINGDON! You might know that we make our chocolate here in Britain at our Huntingdon factory in Cambridgeshire. But did you know that there’s an outlet shop there too? It’s situated in the old gatehouse of the factory and has been converted into one of Hotel Chocolat’s more unusual stores – with an array of discounted factory seconds that taste just as gorgeous. The stock and the offers change quickly, so if you’re passing anywhere near, do drop in and bag yourself a delicious bargain. And all with your Club members’ 5% discount – just don’t forget to bring your membership card! Find opening hours and directions at www.hotelchocolat.com/stores and click on Huntingdon. Hotel Chocolat Outlet Store Hadley Park 3 Redwongs Way Huntingdon PE29 7HF Telephone 01480 433281

SCORING IS EASY & FUN – 4

YOU’D BETTER SIT DOWN… The new fortified selection is ready!

do it online at www.chocs.co.uk or pop your scorecard in your payment envelope!

Photography by TOM MANNION

Prize draw winner is Mr Anthony Wakeman from Halesowen who wins a Less Sugar More Cocoa Selection.

The latest quarterly instalment of our legendary Fortified Selection is now ready for despatch with 28 chocolates featuring – a good dram of the renowned Glen Morangie Single Malt, Grey Goose Vodka in an elegant martini recipe, a warming glug of Courvoisier VS Cognac, Damson Gin, uplifting Mercier Champagne and so much more. It’s not one to miss! Make sure yours is reserved via Manage My Membership at www.chocs.co.uk/ MMM or call 08444 933 933


F

&

CHOColate ME

cus on THE CL ASSIC SELECTION

We get many congratulatory letters from members, but some stand out for various different reasons. This is one such letter that we thought you would like to share.

Dear Editor

 I wanted to write and say thank you so much to everyone involved in setting up and running the Chocolate Tasting Club. It sounds a bit dramatic; but it sort of saved my life.

From left to right – the evolution of our Classic Selection boxes culminating in our striking red current design

Back when we founded The Chocolate Tasting Club in 1998, we started with just one tasting selection, the Classic. And it was the perfect place to begin, with a selection that offered a balance of milk, dark and white chocolates. In fact, it is still our most popular box.

T

he Chocolate Tasting Club certainly has come a long way since the first tasting selections were posted through members’ letterboxes 14 years ago. But for those who were just a twinkle in the Club’s eye in 1998 (or who can’t remember that far back…), those first Classic Selections were quite different – not least because they featured a golden box design and a couple of chocolate bars in each selection. Unfortunately, we cannot find an image of those first boxes anywhere – they appear to be lost in the mists of time, which is a great shame. The Classic Selection has, of course, evolved over the years. The bars have long gone, but they were replaced by the ever popular tasting batons, which remain an integral part of the selection to this day. However, the original idea behind its conception is strongly adhered to – it is still the definitive mix of milk, dark and white chocolates. Which is exactly why it 6

remains our most popular selection, clearly the majority of chocolate lovers like to try a variety of chocolates!

VITAL STATISTICS Launch date: September 1998 Share of membership: 50.4% Total number of boxes shipped: 6,439,587

My Mum joined for me about ten years ago when I was really ill with severe ME. I was bedbound for six years and very poorly. I had difficulty swallowing and couldn't eat anything other than chocolate and yogurt. The highlight of my day was having one of the Chocolates from my tasting box. I used to get so excited when the parcel arrived. It was back in the days of the yellow printed newsletters and I have loved watching it develop to the sleek and elegant packaging you have today. As I got a bit better, I was really pleased to be able to go to your shop in Norwich – it’s very wheelchair friendly, which makes a nice change from most stores! 
The Tasting Club has taught me so much about chocolate, actually it’s pretty much ruined all other chocolates for me, as I now can’t stand the vile, sweet and greasy stuff they call chocolate in the shops. I used to love Dairy Milk! Oh well, it’s an excuse to treat myself to the Tasting Club instead. 
I’d never thought about where chocolate came from before; but the club educated me not only on the process involved in making chocolate; but also all the ethical issues related to it. I like knowing that the chocolate I buy from you is supporting people around the world, with fair wages and better working conditions. 
In fact you inspired me so much I actually wrote a virtual holiday for my friends who are house bound too, taking them on an imaginary journey around the world, following the path of chocolate from bean to bar, from Saint Lucia, via Mexico, back to Europe. I came up with the idea when I couldn’t go away with my family. The holidays are a bit like a story; but I write it as if the person reading it is really on holiday, using all their senses to feel like they’re there. Think guided meditation; but much more exciting than lying on a beach. I had so much fun researching and writing it, with lots of excuses to taste some chocolate for inspiration. 
I wanted to say a big thank you. When I had so little that I could do, the Tasting Club gave me something to look forward to. I’ve loved watching it go from strength to strength and can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Best Wishes Claire Wade 7


cover story – continued

Let the building

We organised a ground breaking ceremony last week, to mark the formal commencement of construction...

of Obo, to organise this formal ceremony. Our main purpose was to create a forum for all the parties to make public declaration of their commitment to project – something we thought was essential to the successful execution of the project. The ceremony was a great success as it attracted the key stakeholders including the Member of Parliament for the area, the traditional overlord (the Chief of Obo), the District Director of Health Services, the Chief of Osuben and his elders, chiefs of all the villages and hamlets within the catchment area of health centre, members of the local project implementation committee as well as leaders of all the labour gangs formed to provide communal labour for the project. The Member of Parliament for the area pledged his support for the project, with an initial promise of 100 bags of cement. The traditional overlord of the area, the Chief of Obo, also expressed his appreciation for this bold initiative. He promised to use his traditional power to get all the young people to contribute their labour to ensure early completion of the project. Finally, the District Director of Health Services also pledged the support of his department toward the successful implementation of the project. The ceremony was covered by the local media who publicised it extensively.” So, now we’re now underway and hope to get the foundations laid before the start of the rainy season in March. Thank you all for your contributions so far – there’s still time to send us something is you haven’t already!

i c e l i e s a re ag

... from village up to regional level – they can all help the smooth running of our project, so it is not just good etiquette! You’ll recall that this project is one that we’ve thrown open to contributions from Tasting Club members, as we do every three or so years. This one, however, is a big ask, as we need £45,000. We’re on the way as you can see from the current total of £19,007 on the front page, but we still need more help! We have begun building now because we have guaranteed the full amount will be made available so that our partners at the Green Tropics Group (GTG) can complete the health centre. If we fall short in our members’ appeal, then the shortfall will be made up gradually from our annual contributions to GTG, which we clearly do not want to do! Robert, Isaac and Stephen, our GTG partners in Ghana, recently sent us this latest update: “Thank you for the great effort you and your team are making towards the realisation of our goal of making quality healthcare accessible to the people of Osuben and its environs. We have made some good progress on our side. Work started at the site about a month ago with the setting of the layout by the artisans under the supervision of the civil works superintendent in charge of such projects in the Eastern Region. We organised a ground breaking ceremony last week, to mark the formal commencement of construction, performed by the traditional head of Osuben and its environ – the big Chief of Obo. Although actual work had commenced, we thought it wise, upon consultation with some of the key stakeholders, including the Chief

W to e’r yo o ea to u’d ur lm l t h ik £ o pl e o u s e t o 45 s t a s an he , 0 h e s d s lp 0 0 a ee of br t lfw t h co i n g a e f co h rg a ro a e a nt f a lt e t y p m h

commence!

9

If

Clockwise from top left – the Chief of Obo’s Elders arrive; the Chief himself (in blue) breaking ground; the foundations for the outer walls are started; the ceremony attracted people from across the Osuben district; workers make quick progress with the outer walls; the local Member of Parliament addresses the ceremony; the outer walls will hopefully be finished before the rainy season begins in March.


scores

feedback

Classic Selection – D157 No. Chocolate Name

Your Tasting Comments! Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

Lemon Cheesecake

V Elliot

28%

8.6

2

Nutty Coffee

R Macfadyen

24%

8.5

3

Salted Caramel & Nibs

O Nicod

23%

8.4

4

St-Remy Truffle

K Kalenko

20%

8.2

5

Between the Nuts

K Kalenko

19%

8.2

Lemon Cheesecake

Brickbat Smoked Paprika Praline – Classic This chocolate sounded promising but had a really unpleasant aftertaste. Disappointing! Vikki Gill, Burton-on-Trent

DARK Selection – K90 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

St-Remy Truffle

K Kalenko

26%

8.6

2

Nutty Coffee

R Macfadyen

26%

8.6

3

Dark Truffle

F Plimmer

24%

8.7

4

Lemon Cheesecake

V Elliot

21%

8.4

5

Between the Nuts

K Kalenko

19%

8.4

10/10

Average

35%

8.6 8.4

Hazelnut kiss – Classic Delicious on the lips! Lauren Cairns, Waterlooville St-Remy Truffle

Elements Selection – S68 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

1

Lemon Cheesecake

V Elliot

2

Salted Caramel & Nibs

O Nicod

27%

3

Nutty Coffee

R Macfadyen

24%

8.1

4

Peel-Me-An-Orange

The Tasting Club

23%

8.3

5

38% Milk Batons, Costa Rica

The Tasting Club

23%

8.3

10/10

Average

Lemon Cheesecake

Chocolatier

1

Hacienda Iara Praline

O Nicod

26%

8.7

2

Arabica Coffee & Walnut Bûche

F Plimmer

16%

8.8

3

Golden Raisin & Ecuador Nibs Bûche

K Kalenko

15%

8.7

4

60% Buena Vista Milk Chocolate

The Tasting Club

13%

8.6

5

85% Ghana Orangettes

The Tasting Club

11%

8.4

ALL MILK Selection – M12 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

Hazelnut Kiss

R Macfadyen

27%

8.6

2

Salted Caramel & Nibs

O Nicod

26%

8.2

3

Nutty Coffee

R Macfadyen

24%

8.2

4

38% Milk Batons, Costa Rica

The Tasting Club

18%

8.2

5

St-Remy Truffle

K Kalenko

17%

7.7

Hazelnut Kiss

Brickbat

Bouquet Peel Me An Orange – Elements Chocolate and orange are a heavenly mixture, this is no exception and it looks divine. Peel me another one! June Davis, Pontyclun

Hacienda Iara Praline – Purist Velvety smooth, nutty, dark and sumptuous. Lizzi Simmons, Essex

Hacienda Iara Praline

Bouquet

Bouquet Smoked Paprika Praline – Dark An inspired idea! I love smoked paprika, I love pralines, but only you guys would have thought of combining them. Cath Brown, Birmingham

No 3 Gin Truffle – All Milk They must have kept the lid on the bottle when the gin was added. Vikki Gill, Burton-on-Trent

purist Selection – p22 No. Chocolate Name

Bouquet Lemon Cheesecake – Classic Oh my! I wasn’t expecting to love this one but I think I can honestly say it was one of the most delicious chocolates I have tasted, the lemon worked beautifully with the white chocolate and the texture was divine. Lucy Peatfield, London

Dear Editor

Bouquet

IN THE POSTBAG…

I’m ruined! Your wonderfully delicious chocolates have spoilt me for any other kinds. I often used to buy bars of the main bulk manufacturers’ products, but since joining your club I’m no longer interested in them – it’s saving me loads of cash, which I can now spend on buying Hotel Chocolat treats for friends and family! This includes a Christmas selection as a thank you to the postman for delivering such marvellous parcels! Many thanks to all who work for you. Well done. Elaine

10

Don’t forget – if we publish your letter you’ll receive your next tasting box FREE! Write to editor@hotelchocolat.co.uk or The Chocolate Tasting Club, Mint House, Royston, SG8 5HL

11


Photography by TOM MANNION

Summer Desserts

r e? e h e r e w u o y Wi s h

It’s coming!

How Far has your box Travelled? Includes a FREE set of 10 recipe cards – exclusively developed for members by Cacao Cuisine Development Chef, David Demaison.

While our latest special edition, The Grand Tour, is a celebration of the golden age of travel, featuring a range of chocolates from each destination, this is a tour of a quite different sort...

I

t was all started by Club Director, Terry Waters, who took the opportunity of being photographed with a tasting selection outside the Rojo Hotel in Nkawkaw during his last visit to Ghana. It prompted us to wonder where Club members have taken their tasting selections and the furthest that one of our boxes has actually travelled. Can you do better?

• Pioneers of

So if you find yourself on your travels with your tasting selection, then please take a photograph and send it in. If we publish your photo we’ll send you a FREE box to say thank you! Email your photos to: editor@hotelchocolat.co.uk. Or post them to CTC Box Travels, Mint House, Royston SG8 5HL

Chocolate •

John Cadbury

You never know what our great British Summers have in store for us, but one thing is for sure – with Summer Desserts on its way, it’ll be a sizzler come rain or shine! This special edition first took the Tasting Club by storm four years ago and every summer since, this collection of chocolates specially created for the warmer months has just become more and more popular. This, our fourth edition, is set to carry on that dazzling tradition with

John Cadbury was one of 10 children who opened his first shop in Birmingham in 1824 aged 22. He sold, amongst other things, a new sideline in cocoa – grinding the nibs with sugar to create drinks. By 1831 he opened his first factory, laying the foundations for the Cadbury chocolate company. But his legacy extends beyond chocolate, thanks to his Quaker beliefs that all human beings should be treated equally.

H an array of summery recipes – including Peaches & Cream, Chocolate Trifle and Caramel Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Banana Smoothie, Raspberry Mousse and more!

Reserve the next summer desserts Selection for just £25.00 (plus £3.95 P&P) at www.chocs.co.uk/mmm or call 08444 933 933

e believed in social responsibility and social reform and started by providing free tea, coffee, cocoa and chocolate as alternatives to alcohol to alleviate some of the alcohol-related problems faced by workers. John died in 1889 but his sons carried on his work and became pioneers in employee welfare – closing factories on Bank holidays, giving time off to young workers to attend school, staging employee outings and camps

and, of course, they built Bourneville Village. This was a revolutionary ‘Garden City’ built on 120 acres next to their factory – to provide affordable housing in pleasant surroundings to wage earners in the area. In 1900 the company handed over ownership of the land to the Bourneville Village Trust. The last Cadbury family member retired in 2000 and the company was sold to Kraft in 2010. 13


competition

“ THE DARK SELECTION IS CHANGING… When we first introduced the Dark Selection it was created to be a dark mirror of the contents of the Classic Selection, with two each of every chocolate and six tasting batons. Now, however, we’re making a small change to that. From box number K97 there’ll be three each of nine filled chocolates and four chocolate tasting batons. But don’t worry – there will be exactly the same quantity of chocolate as before! Why are we making this change? Because by featuring three each of a smaller number of filled chocolates (nine as opposed to the current 13) allows us to focus only on those recipes that work best in dark chocolate. It’s an approach that we developed with the launch last year of the All Milk box and it has worked so well that we are now extending it to our Dark boxes. As always, we’d love to hear what you think, so do please let us know.

news & results

Caption Competition ..

are. s r e n n i w r Ou

Winter Pudding scores Winter Puddings was our deliciously cosy special edition inspired by the comforting desserts we all know and love – from crumbles and cobblers, to steamed puddings, brownies and more. As you can see, it was one of the most traditional of all puddings that topped the charts, Sussex Pond Pudding, with a gorgeous blend of caramel and zesty lemon that clearly had you all enthralled. Narrowly beating the Queen of Puddings and the humble Custard Tart, which both finished strongly. No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier 10/10 Average

Thank you for all of your rather witty captions for this incriminating photograph – showing Club Director, Terry Waters and Hotel Chocolat’s Head of Chocolate Development, Adam Geilesky. We’ve had a very good flurry of entries, most of which suggested the argument between Terry and Adam was over eating the last chocolate – but that was a little too obvious for us! A small group hit upon a clever word association between the iconic Griotte Deluxe chocolate and a form of strangulation and we made the difficult choice between them and the winning entries are:

“I said we need more ‘Griotte’ not ‘Garrotte’!”

1

Sussex Pond Pudding

R Macfadyen

28%

8.5

2

Queen of Puddings

K Kalenko

27%

8.6

3

Custard Tart

E Desmet

27%

8.2

4

Rhubarb Crumble

K Kalenko

26%

8.5

5

Chocolate Bakewell Tart

F Plimmer

25%

8.2

6

Sticky Toffee Pudding

O Nicod

19%

8.2

7

Apple & Blackcurrant Cobbler

R Macfadyen

16%

8.2

“Will you please check your job description? It’s Head of Chocolate Development not Chocolate Head Development!”

8

Hazelnut & Pecan Brownie

O Nicod

15%

7.7

Simon Sherwood@online

9

Marmalade & Ginger Steamed Pudding F Plimmer

12%

7.7

10

Chocolate Steamed Pudding

11%

7.6

V Elliot

Ruth Brookes, Derby

“Is this the real meaning of conching?” Mrs P Reeves, Devon

Sussex Pond Pudding

14

Queen of Puddings

Custard Tart

Well done everyone & enjoy your chocolates! Each of our three lucky winners will be tucking into a Sleekster Everything Selection. 15


FREE Click & Collect service now available! hotelchocolat.com Visit our new website with – • Enhanced gifting options, including gift bags & gift cards • Guaranteed next day and AM delivery options • Hotel booking facility • 5% Tasting Club discount automatically added And much much more... All existing customers’ passwords and address books are still available.

DISCOVER • REVIEW • SHARE

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