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N E WS & R E V IE WS ST R A IGH T FROM T H E CONCH

FROM PLANTATION TO PLATE

Come inside Rabot 1745, our new cocoa-centric restaurant in the heart of London. p8

OUR GHANA APPEAL

We’re building a medical centre for the farmers of Osuben. And you can help. p13

THE RABOT PÉPINIÈRE

How we created a new ‘single-côte’ chocolate with cocoa from our estate in Saint Lucia. p5

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


EGGSQUISITE

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Exclusive to the Chocolate Tasting Club. Discover more about our Easter adventure and reserve your collection online at chocs.co.uk/easter

Steve Bond

THE 2014 COLLECTION


CONTENTS FEATURES 4 STRAIGHT FROM THE CONCH Angus, our co-founder, creates an exciting cocktail with a cacao twist. Plus, Top Picks to see and do this January.

8 FROM PLANTATION TO PLATE Read the full story of Rabot 1745, our innovative new restaurant at the heart of foodie London.

5 INTRODUCING PÉPINÈRE 70% DARK Our second single-côte bar from our Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia has a rock star personality.

12 COCOA PLANET Keep up to date with the latest from Hotel Chocolat and cocoa news around the globe.

6 FOOD & DRINK Oliver Nicod tells us his Chocolatier’s Tale, and Chef Jon Bentham wants to meet you. Indulge this weekend with a Sticky Ginger and Chocolate Pudding.

13 QUICK SNAPS Tidbits and snippets to keep you informed. 14 THE CHOCOLATE TASTING CLUB Learn about our Tasting Club, with scores and comments from last month’s selections.

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7 LIVING IN A BOX What’s life like for a man constantly surrounded by chocolate? Our editor Iain Ball lets us know.

EDITOR’S NOTE

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Welcome to the first issue of The Pod, with tales from across the world of Hotel Chocolat, featuring the incredibly multi-talented and endlessly inventive character that is the cocoa bean. We’ll be keeping you updated with the latest news about the Chocolate Tasting Club, our shops, cafes and restaurants, starting this issue with the remarkable Rabot 1745 in Borough Market. Please do follow our stories online at hotelchocolat.com/thepod Enjoy the cocoa, and enjoy the issue! Page 13

Iain Ball, Editor

With thanks to this month’s contributors: ANGUS THIRLWELL

TERRY WATERS

OLIVIER NICOD

CEO and co-founder of Hotel Chocolat.

Managing Director of the Chocolate Tasting Club.

Head Chocolatier.

This month, Angus describes how he worked extensively on creating a new cocktail for Hotel Chocolat’s new restaurants: Rabot 1745 in London and Roast+Conch in Leeds. See page 4.

Terry helped Angus to establish the Chocolate Tasting Club back in 1998. Since then, he’s been at the forefront of our work in Ghana, visiting several times. He brings the full story up to date on page 13.

Olivier worked as a pastry chef for one of the world’s best chefs, Paul Bocuse. More recently, he’s been concocting spur-of-the moment delicacies at Borough Market. Read about the Borough Market Slice on page 6.

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 A newly fashioned Old Fashioned Angus Thirlwell reinvents a classic cocktail with a new cacao twist

I had a mantra when creating the cocktail menu for our new restaurants (read all about Rabot 1745 on page 8): No obscure combinations, no obscure names. Just interesting twists on great, classic recipes. The Martini, the Bellini, the Sour and the Fizz... there’s a reason why some cocktails become classics and last 100 years: They just work. I wanted to create a unique cocktail with a distinctive edge that still retained classic lines. I experimented at home and on trips to Rabot Estate, our cocoa plantation in Saint Lucia. Just down the road is the distillery where they make Chairman’s Reserve, a fabulous golden rum. I used it to make a twist on the Old Fashioned recipe, using cacao bitters made with a distillation of roasted cocoa shells (not yet on sale, but watch this space). First, I diluted a teaspoon of a local honey with a teaspoonful of warm rum, and added four drops each of cacao bitters and angostura bitters. Then I filled a rocks glass with three ice cubes, added two shots of rum, and stirred in the honey slowly and evenly, garnishing it with a twist of orange. Adding the cocoa bitters reveals fantastic notes of oak, leather, honey toffee and toasted nuts in the rum. A single sip of this now instantly transports me to a balmy evening at Rabot Estate: rocking chair, tree frog chorus and a tinkle of ice in amber. I seriously recommend it! View our cocktail list at hotelchocolat.com/cocktails

“A single sip of this instantly transports me to a balmy evening at Rabot Estate: rocking chair, tree frog chorus and a tinkle of ice in amber...”

TOP PICKS

THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO SEE

BE IN REPOSE This month, come in store and try a free sample of our new eau de parfum: Cocoa Juvenate Repose, a tropical evening scent of spiced white florals and roasted cocoa with musk, sandalwood and leather. cocoajuvenate.com

COUNT YOURS BEFORE THEY HATCH Your Eggsquisite Easter Collection is ready to order now. Reserve yours at chocs.co.uk

STAY WITH US Feeling chilly? We’re offering amazing discounts on a stay at Boucan, our luxury hotel in Saint Lucia, with extra-special benefits for Chocolate Tasting Club members. Find out more at hotelchocolat.com/ boucanoffer

OPEN A HEART Our Valentine’s Selection will be available from January 15th but you can shop online to your heart’s content right now at hotelchocolat.com ART OF THE STATE We’ll be keeping an eye out for new collaborators to work with at this year’s London Art Fair, from January 15-19, showcasing exceptional British art from new and established artists. londonartfair.co.uk


hotelchocolat.com/thepod

INTRODUCING… Rabot Estate Pépinière We proudly present our second ‘singlecôte’ chocolate, created from cocoa grown and harvested on just one part of Rabot Estate, our 250-year-old plantation in Saint Lucia. The 15-acre Pépinière côte is the largest of our 16 côtes, bordered by riverbeds on the slope of a volcanic basin beneath the spectacular Piton mountains, and blessed with fabulously rich and fertile soil. During the peak harvests in the autumn and spring, we collect ripe pods from Pépinière every two weeks. They’re taken back to our ‘nursery’ and within 24 hours, cracked open with a ‘cutlass’ – a kind of machete – and the beans are pulled out. We make sure that they’re fermented and dried separately from all the other beans on our estate and, depending on the weather, they can be ready to roast within about two weeks.

Although harvesting from just a single section of an estate is common among winemakers, we think we’re the first chocolatier to do it. In 2012, we created the world’s firstever single-côte chocolate bar, with cocoa harvested from our Marcial côte. Pépinière is our second, and although the two côtes are close, the subtle differences in terroir produce remarkably different cocoa personalities. The flavour of our Marcial chocolate is full of red fruits and wine, with a woody, acidic middle and a clean finish; while our Pepiniere delivers milder yellow and citrus fruits, with a mellow, sweet and creamy middle and a smoky finish.

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THE RABOT ESTATE PÉPINIÈRE 70% DARK Tasting Notes: Rockstar with ego. A lick of roasted cocoa jumps into driving riffs of tart red fruits and lemon before stage-diving into nuts, tobacco and caramel. Harvest: 2013 Roasted: 30 mins at 125°C /257°F Conched: 49 hours Chocolatier: Emma Cope Discover in stores or online at hotelchocolat.com

We’re already preparing a third côte – the Fond du Lac – for separate harvesting. Watch this space.

Left: Emran Edward & Freda Augustin cracking the cocoa pods Right: Fermenting the Pépinière beans

DON’T MISS THE BAFTAS The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards are on Sunday 16th February. As Official Chocolate Partner we’ll be there, comforting film stars with our chocolates. Last year our biggest fan was Mr Samuel L. Jackson bafta.org

SAY HELLO TO MR SMITH Don’t miss this brilliant exhibition at the Design Museum on the life, influences, inspirations and achievements of the quintessentially quirky Paul Smith, creator of one of Britain’s most iconic fashion brands. On until March 9. designmuseum.org

MAKE SOMEONE A TASTING CLUB MEMBER Do you know someone who’s mad about luxury chocolate? Give this eccentric connoisseur a Chocolate Tasting Club Gift Subscription. Available in stores and online at hotelchocolat.com SEE HER Spike Jonze’s long-awaited movie Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is finally in cinemas. This sci-fi romance about a lonely writer’s relationship with his computer has already been tipped for an Oscar. Out January 24th.

VOYAGE FROM BEAN TO BAR Discover the art of the chocolatier: spend a morning making chocolate and enjoy a fantastic three-course lunch at our Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market. Find out more at rabot1745.com/events


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FOOD & DRINK

THE CHOCOLATIER’S TALE THE BOROUGH MARKET SLICE Olivier Nicod

“When I started working on a new recipe for chocolatiers to make fresh at our Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market, I knew I’d never know what kind of cocoa they’d have in the conch. It could be beans from Trindad, Vietnam, Ecuador, Colombia… all with different flavour notes, from red fruit to leather. The solution was a ‘spur-of-themoment slice’ – a chocolate really packed with any ingredients in the pantry that would pair best, from spice to dried fruits, nuts, cereal and biscuit. We started with a Roasted Pistachio, Cranberry and Cinnamon slice using 70% dark chocolate from Ecuadorean beans we conched for 50 hours. It has an amazingly fresh spice-and-fruit flavour and an astonishing crunch.”

The Borough Market Slice Available only at Rabot 1745 rabot1745.com

STICKY GINGER & CHOCOLATE PUDDING Try this delicious dessert, created by our chocolatiers and inspired by a recipe for one of their favourite chocolates! Just one of the recipe cards featured in our Chocolate Tasting Club Winter Puddings 2013 collection. Serves: 6 Difficulty: Surprisingly simple Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 25-35 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease 6 individual pudding basins with butter.

INGREDIENTS

3. Mix together the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips to make a crumbly mixture. Stir in the dark chocolate and ground ginger.

100g/3½oz softened butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing 100g/3½oz pecan or walnut halves, roughly chopped, plus extra to decorate 85g/3oz stem ginger in syrup, drained, roughly chopped 200g/7oz plain flour 175g/6oz light muscovado sugar 75g/2½oz Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate drops, roughly chopped 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 284ml carton soured cream 1 egg, lightly beaten Hotel Chocolate salted caramel & pecan chocolate spread, for drizzling

2. Spoon half the chopped pecans and half the stem ginger into the bottom of each basin.

4. Stir the remaining pecans into the crumb mix with the rest of the stem ginger. Divide 100g/3½oz of the crumb mix equally between the basins, spooning it over the pecans. 5. Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the remaining crumb mixture in the bowl. Mix the soured cream and egg together, then stir it into the crumb mixture to make a loose batter. Pour the batter over the crumbs in the pudding basins until almost to the rim. 6. Bake the puddings for 25-35 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the puddings sit for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the inside edge of the basins and turn the puddings out onto serving dishes. Serve warm with a drizzle of the salted caramel and pecan chocolate spread and a sprinkling of extra pecans.

EXPERIENCE THE JOURNEY OF COCOA WITH CHEF JON “It’s all about the cocoa.” This month, join the man who created cocoa cuisine, Executive Chef Jon Bentham, for a day devoted to a journey from the cocoa plantation to your plate. Learn the art of the chocolatier, creating your own truffles and bars with cocoa grown on our Rabot Estate plantation in Saint Lucia. Then relax and enjoy a sumptuous and unique fourcourse lunch with cocoa used as a subtle spice. Available January 30th and February 27th. Book your place at hotelchocolat.com/cactuskitchens

FOR THE WEEKEND... Salted Caramel & Pecan Chocolate Spread A truly delicious blend of caramel and chocolate with finely ground pecan nuts and a tiny pinch of salt. £6 hotelchocolat.com


hotelchocolat.com/thepod

LIVING in a I’ve been glancing at her. She’s been glancing at me.

mortality. Gloomy as this is, it’s strangely helpful on the 8.25.

At least, I think she has. There’s not much to look at on the last carriage of the 8.25 to King’s Cross. You could end up looking at everything by accident. And perhaps I’ve just noticed her glances because they’re a startling shade of amber.

“Hello,” I hear myself say.

This has been going on for weeks. One Friday, after a huge effort, I try a small smile. Surprised, she sends one back. Right! I think. This is encouraging. I have absolutely no idea what to do next. I call my friend Lisa, an expert on matters of the heart and commuter train etiquette. “Why don’t you try, I don’t know… talking to her?” she suggests. This seems radical. I don’t want to come across as some kind of maniac. Lisa sighs. “How long have you been waiting now? Even pandas don’t take this long.” “What do I say?” “You work for a chocolate company. She’s a woman. Think of something, Ling-Ling. You’re becoming endangered.” I awake the following Monday painfully aware of my own

“Hello,” she says, startled. Her name is Zoe. She is French. She is a chemist, doing mysterious things with molecules and microscopes. I explain what I do. She raises a precisely arched eyebrow. “Very rich in flavonoids,” she nods. Our eyes lock. I am suddenly aware of a subtle benefit to my job not mentioned in the contract.

She slips it into her bag. I am feeling triumphant. “If you’re brave enough, we have some 100% dark too,” I suggest hopefully. “And how do you describe that?” I think for a minute. “Er… ‘a charming dominatrix’.” She smiles slyly for a moment. “Oh yes, I’m brave enough,” she says. “Are you?”

BOX

Chocolate may not be an aphrodisiac. But it helps, discovers editor Iain Ball

Zoe eats a piece of chocolate every day. She is, however, very particular. It must be dark – at least 85% cocoa. Good chocolate also needs “a polymorph V molecular arrangement,” she explains. This can sound surprisingly sexy when said with a French accent. The next morning I scrub up more smartly than usual, leaping aboard the 8.25 armed with a 70g bar of Rabot 1745 Coastal Ecuador Hacienda Iara 90% Dark Organic. One of our chocolatiers has assured me that, yes, it has the right molecular structure, saying, “Not many people ask me about that.” Zoe accepts it with delight, reading the tasting notes on the front: “‘A charmer with a smouldering intensity.’ Hmmm.”

Good chocolate needs ‘a polymorph V molecular arrangement’. This can sound surprisingly sexy when said with a French accent.

VOX CHOCS COCOA SOUNDBITES FROM PEOPLE WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER

“I ask for a cake with icing, but I want it to be chocolate and black inside from chocolate as the devil’s ass is black from smoke. And the icing is to be the same.” A request from the Marquis de Sade to his wife from his prison cell in Vincennes, May 1779.

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Cocoa lives in two worlds. We wanted Rabot’s design to reconnect the world of cocoa growing with the luxury of eating it.

Angus Thirlwell, Co-founder of Hotel Chocolat


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FROM PLANTATION TO PLATE The story of Rabot 1745, our new restaurant in the heart of London’s food-obsessed Borough Market, is the story of the cocoa bean.

I

t sits beneath the wrought-iron arches of London’s Borough Market, on a traffic-sharpened corner of SE1 just by the Shard, but when you enter Rabot 1745, you are stepping a over threshold between urban and rural.

A sense that you’re now on a Saint Lucian cocoa plantation is not an entirely whimsical idea. You enter a lively bar, cafe and shop alive with the action of a busy plantation at work, the air crackling with the aroma of roasting cocoa beans. “It’s a temple to cocoa,” says Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat’s co-founder. “The idea for this started growing eight years ago when we first bought Rabot Estate, our cocoa plantation in Saint Lucia.” Rabot 1745’s menu and design are seedlings transplanted from ideas that first took root in the soil of the 250-year-old Rabot Estate, a beautiful but distressed Caribbean plantation that took four years to restore. The restaurant opened in November last year, becoming a unique new addition to the food paradise that is Borough Market. “This place champions the grower and it champions sustainable food, and we believe in that,” says Angus. “The people who visit the market are always open to new experiences and new tastes, and they’ll certainly find that at Rabot 1745.”

The Taste Rabot’s ingenious cacao-centric menu is inspired by our cocoa estate’s hugely successful restaurant, Boucan, which opened in 2011 amid cocoa groves that played a key role in its kitchen. It’s an entirely new kind of dining, and cocoa – not chocolate – is its real secret. Featuring contemporary dishes influenced by both the West Indies and Britain, roasted cocoa nibs are used throughout as a savoury spice, infusion and garnish.


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FROM PLANTATION TO PLATE

“Cocoa has a savoury tone. It’s got a crunch like a nut and a hint of bitterness that goes well with other foods’ natural sweetness. And when people taste it, it fascinates them.” Chef Jon Bentham, creator of the Rabot 1745 menu

“It’s only been in the last 500 years that people started adding sugar to cocoa,” says Angus. “For 3000 years before that, cocoa beans were roasted and eaten like nuts. So really we’re just restoring cocoa to its proper place in the chef’s pantry.” The menu features unique harmonies of flavour, with cocoa nibs used in many ways – from Scottish scallops in curried cocoa nib oil to carrots roasted in cocoa butter, rib-eye steak served with cocoa nibs and red wine jus, and white chocolate mash. The man behind the menu is Chef Jon Bentham, who pioneered Boucan’s hugely successful cocoa cuisine. Jon played a leading role in the renaissance of London cuisine in the 1990s as head chef for Gary Rhodes and Stephen Bull, winning Michelin stars along the way, before moving to Saint Lucia. He returned to the UK to lead the Rabot team as executive chef. “It’s all about the nibs,” says Jon. “Cocoa has a savoury tone. It’s got a crunch like a nut, it’s got a hint of bitterness that goes well with other foods’ natural sweetness. And when people taste it, it fascinates them.”

“But we also use the rest of the plant as much as much as we can. The cacao pulp surrounding the beans in the pod is a great tenderiser for marinating chicken and beef, and it has a sour, tangy component. It’s also fantastic in cocktails, like the Fresh Cacao Bellini. It’s unique.”

The Look Our intimate relationship with cocoa has not only inspired the Rabot 1745 menu, it’s also at the heart of the restaurant’s design. “Cocoa lives in two worlds,” says Angus. “We’re farmers and we get dirt under our fingernails in a rough and hard agricultural environment. Then we wash them and make this luxurious, luscious smooth chocolate as well. “So we wanted Rabot’s design to link the two. We want to reconnect the world of cocoa growing with the luxury of eating it.” That was the brief given to interior designer Terry Moore, who created Hotel Chocolat’s first ever chocolate boutique 10 years ago, and helped conjure the ‘barefoot luxury’ atmosphere of our hotel and restaurant in Saint Lucia.


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From left to right: The striking neon sign leading up to the restaurant; The Rabot 1745 mousse collection, our chocolatiers’ favourite dessert; Kiri Kalenko, Senior Chocolatier; the leather-upholstered wall upstairs; a wooden pod sculpture in the windows overlooking Bedale Street; a Cocoa Gin Martini, made with tangy pulp from the pod; the Rabot 1745 symbol against corrugated steel; the upstairs bar; the private dining table crafted from hurricane-felled ironwood.

He divided the restaurant into two spaces to reflect the separation between the rough world of cocoa growing and the smooth world of the chocolatier. The ground floor is deliberately agricultural, with a design infused with the raw edges of a cocoa farm. Almost everything has been recovered from a lifetime of hard work and put back to use: Tables and floors of weathered steel and oak reclaimed from an old mill, walls of rain-battered, corrugated steel in red, black and green, exposed brick and battered concrete. It’s all designed to evoke the feel of a working plantation in Saint Lucia. “That’s what happens on a volcanic island at the equator,” explains Angus with a grin. “Leave anything outside and it gets rusted and weathered by the fierce heat, sulphur and salty air almost overnight.” Two ironwood trees from our plantation, both felled by a hurricane in 2010, have been shipped over and transformed into beautiful furniture as tough as nails, including the rough window counter and the stools that line it, even a 12-seater private dining table upstairs.

Follow the striking neon restaurant sign and stroll up the wooden staircase, however, and the rustic mood begins to change. You are now entering the realm of cocoa luxury. “You become conscious that it’s different, like you’re stepping into a plantation mansion house,” says Terry, “There are luxurious upholstered leather walls and banquettes, and beautiful damask fabrics. It’s a very elegant, smooth space, warm and beautifully lit.” Here the ironwood table has been polished to perfection with a highgloss lacquer. But the weathered exterior of the plantation still plays a part, in a delicately sculptured metal screen, and in the light fittings: rusted on the outside, but painted gold within. Amid these exotic contrasts, mounted on the wall, sits a striking work of art. A triptych by the young artist Jessica May Underwood, who collaborated with our creative director Timbo Rennie to capture the spirit of Rabot Estate. It’s a dreamscape, a romantic connection between the beauty and the source of cocoa,” explains Angus. “It’s the organic connection between the two, and that’s what we’re always seeking.”

Cuisine with a cocoa twist... SAMPLE MENU

PEARL BARLEY SCOTCH EGG £7 Nib-crusted quail’s egg pearl barley ‘scotch egg’ with warm salad of roasted root vegetables, goat’s cheese dressing and cacao oil emulsion. V. RED MULLET & OLIVE GNOCCHI £10 Red mullet fillet, black olive and ricotta chickpea gnocchi with Borough-conched chocolate and mustard condiment. GF.

CACAO MARINATED BEEF £25 35-day aged 170g/6oz Galloway Short Horn rib-eye steak, roast winter vegetables, white chocolate horseradish mash, red wine cacao jus. Chef recommends ‘medium’. GF MARKET CHOWDER £18 Clam and market fish cream chowder, potatoes, celery, mace, rack of nib crackers.

SOUFRIÈRE CHEESECAKE £7 Soursop-mascarpone cream, mango jelly, cacao nib pecan and cinnamon biscuit, cacao pulp sorbet. Soufrière is the nearest town to Rabot Estate and the former capital of Saint Lucia. CHOCOLATE GENESIS £10 The whole epic story from the beginning – roasted beans and small shots of drinking chocolate to truffles, pralines and single-estate grades, made on the site from the bean.

V – Vegetarian GF– Gluten-free


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COCOA PLANET NEWS FROM AROUND OUR WORLD DENMARK Location: Copenhagen Monthly Chocolate Tasting Adventures Take your appreciation of chocolate to the next step with a tasting adventure at our Copenhagen cocoa bar-cafe. Enjoy a glass of our house Prosecco as you taste our chocolates with expert guidance. Over two hours you’ll discover the best ways to experience chocolate and how to pick out the nuances of flavour and texture created by different cocoa varieties, terroirs, and roasting and conching times. At the end of the adventure you’ll get a chance to shop with an exclusive discount and take home a delicious goody bag to continue your tasting at home. Monthly Chocolate Tasting Adventures are also available in stores around the UK. Find out more at hotelchocolat.com/events. Visit us in Copenhagen at Østergade 13, København K.

USA Location: Boston Our Boston cocoa bar-cafe is open! If you’re in Boston, our flagship US store on Newbury Street has been given a stunning makeover into a stylish cocoa bar-cafe and shop, where you’ll find a delicious menu of both savoury and sweet cocoa cuisine delights, and a wide choice of hot drinks from cocoa to coffee to cacao infusions. We recommend the deviously delicious smoked salmon and white chocolate horseradish open sandwich, served on an English muffin with cocoa nib butter. And you must try one our new whole-bean cacao drinks: like classic barista coffee, but made with cacao beans instead of coffee beans, for a healthy, feel-good boost. Visit us in Boston at 137 Newbury Street.

SAINT LUCIA Location: Rabot Estate Join The Boucan Beach Club We have a new adventure to enjoy when you stay with us at our Boucan hotel in Saint Lucia: a voyage aboard our luxurious new cruiser – the Boucanier II – to spend a day on a hideaway beach. Our skilled shipmates will drop you off at a secluded, palm-fringed beach where you can snorkel, kayak, suntan and enjoy a drink while our crew assembles a pop-up beach club and our chefs fix you a fabulous cocoa cuisine lunch from our Boucan restaurant menu. The Boucan Beach Club is unique in Saint Lucia and runs four days a week. We often see dolphins en route, and if you feel like a special dolphin-spotting expedition, we can arrange that too. Find out more at hotelchocolat.com/boucan


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EDINBURGH

hotelchocolat.com/thepod

GHANA

DINE WITH US AT JOHN LEWIS EDINBURGH

Location: Osuben

Coming soon: This spring we’ll be launching a brand new cocoa barcafe in the John Lewis store at the St James Centre in Edinburgh. Drop by and experience our unique cocoa drinks, breakfasts fabulous open sandwiches, savoury dishes and desserts, wines and beers, and a unique treat of Scottish shortbread dipped in conch chocolate!

The Ghana Appeal: Helping the cocoa farming community of Osuben

The Green Tropics partners – Robert, Stephen and Isaac, who give up their time freely to help the cocoa farming community in Osuben.

In 2001, we connected with a small NGO called Green Tropics Group, which works exclusively with the cocoa farming community around the village of Osuben in Kwahu District in Eastern Ghana. GTG is run by Stephen Osei-Amakye, Isaac Acquah and Robert Nsiah, who all work at the Ghanaian agricultural department but want to do more. We started by helping them fund a nursery providing seedlings to local farmers.

LEEDS

The story so far: In the year 2000, stories began to circulate in the UK media about slave labour being used in cocoa farms in West Africa. Many later proved to be exaggerated (read Chocolate Nations by Órla Ryan for an honest account of the lives of cocoa farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire), but we made sure we paid close attention to the ethical story behind our cocoa beans and the communities who grow them.

In 2002, we went to Ghana for our first visit to Osuben. It was clear that GTG needed more funding and, we felt, more guidance on how to build something self-sustaining as well. We decided to become more involved. A woman from the village told us: “If you really want to help, build us a medical centre.”

AND AT ROAST+CONCH, LEEDS Now you know all about our Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market in London (if not, see our story on page 8) but did you know we’ve also opened another fabulous cocoa-centric cuisine restaurant on Boar Street in Leeds? It’s called Roast+Conch and you’ll read all about it in the next issue of The Pod. Until then, find out more on our website, or even better, experience it for yourself. roastandconch.com

We’ve done this by creating eight satellite nurseries, and to that we had to dig bore holes to create water supplies, plus set up a local field officer with a motorbike and truck for distributing the seedlings. We could only do this with the moral and financial support of our Chocolate Tasting Club members. We’ve also supported a health insurance programme, land reclamation projects, and sponsored a farmers’ weekly radio programme. Last year we established a start-up scheme to help young farmers with equipment, seedlings and training. Throughout all of this, we’ve made regular visits to Osuben to talk to local farmers and understand how we can help. This is what we mean when we say ‘engaged ethics’. Where we are right now: Last year, we met with the Kwahu District Health Authority. The nearest hospital for the Osuben community is in Atibie, nearly 30 kilometres away, and vehicles are scarce. Medical problems that are relatively minor in the UK can be fatal in Osuben. The health authority agreed to supply staff for a medical centre at Osuben – if we could build it. The centre is being built right now, funded by our generous Tasting Club members. If all goes well, it could be completed by April – fulfilling the request made to us on our very first trip. CURRENT:

£ 3 8,1 5 0 TARGET: £45,000

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 51YD

From left: Local kids; women delivering water for mixing cement; the medical centre as it stands so far.

AWARDS

We wanted to help but we couldn’t do that straight away. Instead, we focused on our attention on giving local farmers good quality cocoa seedlings. This is essential for improving incomes; cocoa yields decline as trees get older, and in Ghana most cocoa trees are over 50 years old. In the last 10 years, we’ve provided over 500,000 seedlings – all robust, disease-resistant hybrid varieties with better yields. We’re now supplying more than 120,000 a year.

IT’S ALL IN THE RETAIL Hotel Chocolat co-founder Angus Thirlwell (centre) proudly picked up the prestigious Retail Leader of the Year award 2013 at the Retail Week Enterprise Awards in London. “This is recognition of what we have been able to achieve in the first 10 years of Hotel Chocolat,” said Angus. “I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do in the next 10 years.”

QUICK SNAPS CONTENT SECTION HERE


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THE POD

TASTING CLUB REVIEWS For those who don't know, the Chocolate Tasting Club is at the heart of Hotel Chocolat’s talent for innovative and exceptional chocolates. Our ingenious chocolatiers make hundreds of delicious recipes, which are sent to our Tasting Club members to taste and evaluate before anyone else. Here are the latest scores from our members on our recent selections. Members' scores help us keep making better and better chocolate recipes and decide which of our new chocolates should go into our stores as ‘Selectors’ and in our boxed selections.

The advantages of membership. There are lots of perks to being a Tasting Club member, not least enjoying a 5% discount on everything online and in our stores, cafes, restaurants and even our Boucan Hotel in Saint Lucia. You’ll also have access to special collections exclusive to the Tasting Club, including the annual ‘best of the best’ – and unique season specials. Visit chocs.co.uk to find out more.

How the Chocolate Tasting Club works Every four weeks our members receive an new box of exciting chocolates created by Hotel Chocolat’s chocolatiers, and are free to let us know what they think of each recipe, either online or with a scorecard that comes with the menu. We offer different ‘genres’ of chocolates that our chocolatiers work on, from all milk chocolate to all dark, the alcohol-free Elements selections, the rare and vintage cocoa of our Rabot 1745 selection, and the Classic selection, with a little bit of everything. You can also opt to receive a new box every four weeks or less often if you like. We’re a flexible club, and members can swap selections whenever they want.

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CLASSIC SELECTION D167 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

DARK SELECTION K100 10/10

Average

No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

33%

8.6

1

Raspberry Panacotta

Rhona Macfadyen

31%

8.7

1

Amour

Rhona Macfadyen & Vera Booth

2

Rum-Soaked Sultanas

28%

8.2

2

Damson Gin

Rhona Macfadyen

24%

8.4

3

Amour

Olivier Nicod Rhona Macfadyen & Vera Booth

27%

8.4

3

Caramel Crunch

Kiri Kalenko

21%

8.5

4

Caramel Crunch

Kiri Kalenko

25%

8.6

4

Irish Coffee

Olivier Nicod

17%

8.5

5

Sussex Pond Pudding

Rhona Macfadyen

25%

8.4

5

Raspberry Panacotta

Rhona Macfadyen

17%

8.4

Raspberry Panacotta

Rum-Soaked Sultanas

Amour

Amour

Damson Gin

Caramel Crunch

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

Raspberry Panacotta – “Divine. Beautiful to bite into and savour the flavour as it melts in your mouth. This is more what I expected.” 10/10 Catherine Abbott – Newquay

Amour – “Think I’ve had it before. The warmth and flavour of the liqueur lingers a long time afterwards. Very good.” 9.5/10 Julia Courtney – Barnet

Rum-Soaked Sultanas – “They did a really tipsy dance around my mouth.” 9.5/10 Tricia Anderson – Taunton

Caramel Crunch – “My most favourite chocolate ever.” 10/10 Mrs Marion Watts – York

PRIZE DRAW

PRIZE DRAW

Our prize draw winner is Ms Anne-Marie Tye from Sunderland who wins a Sleekster Fruity Selection.

Our prize draw winner is Mrs Carole White from Biggleswade who wins a Sleekster Dark Selection.


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

15

Score online or by post and you’ll automatically be entered into a Prize Draw every month to win goodies!

RABOT 1745 SELECTION P32 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

Peru Pichanaki High Cocoa 75% Milk

Kiri Kalenko

50%

9.2

2

Peru Pichanaki 75% Milk with Marcona Almonds

Kiri Kalenko

48%

9.1

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

Rhona Macfadyen

46%

8.8

Peru Pichanaki High Cocoa 75% Milk – “A fragrant beginning and a mellow end. Give me more.” 9/10 Paul Lowery – Hertfordshire

Olivier Nicod

28%

8.7

Olivier Nicod

24%

8.0

3 4 5

Extreme Caramel Hacienda Iara 90% Organic Trinidad Cocoa Association 75% Dark Nib & Piedmont Hazelnut Bûche Trinidad Cocoa Association 75% Dark Smoked Paprika Bûche

Peru Pichanaki 75% Milk with Marcona Almonds – “Very smooth – but lacks depth.” 6/10 Brian Dickens – Camberwell

PRIZE DRAW

Peru Pichanaki High Cocoa 75% Milk

Peru Pichanaki 75% Milk with Marcona Almonds

Extreme Caramel Hacienda Iara 90% Organic

ALL MILK SELECTION M22 No. Chocolate Name

Our prize draw winner is Mr Kevin Playle from London who wins a selection of bars from Coastal Ecuador.

ELEMENTS SELECTION S78

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

Raspberry Panacotta

Rhona Macfadyen

38%

8.9

1

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Felicity Plimmer

26%

8.6

2

Caramel Crunch

Kiri Kalenko

31%

8.2

2

Caramel Crunch

Kiri Kalenko

23%

8.7

3

Salted Caramel

30%

8.2

3

Orange & Feuilletine Baton

Felicity Plimmer

23%

8.6

4

Amour

Felicity Plimmer Rhona Macfadyen & Vera Booth

27%

7.8

4

Raspberry Panacotta

Rhona Macfadyen

23%

8.2

5

Banoffee Pie

Kiri Kalenko

25%

8.1

5

Double Nut Praline

Felicity Plimmer

19%

8.2

Raspberry Panacotta

Caramel Crunch

Salted Caramel

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Caramel Crunch

Orange & Feuilletine Baton

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

WHAT MEMBERS ARE SAYING

Caramel Crunch – “Delicious – I could eat a whole box of these.” 10/10 Dr Kath Wallis – Clitheroe

Salted Caramel Cheesecake – “I was unenthusiastic about the idea of these, but the reality was gorgeous!” 9.5/10 Ms Mikki Francis-Lawton – London

Salted Caramel – “I normally love caramels, but there was something not quite right about this one.” 6.5/10

Orange & Feuilletine Baton – “What a great combination. Sad there are only 3 each. Beautiful orange flavour and great crunch from the feuilletine.” 10/10

Ms Jodi Williamson – Lowestoft

Mrs June Davis – Pontyclun

PRIZE DRAW

PRIZE DRAW

Our prize draw winner is Ms Esther Spensley from Edinburgh who wins a selection of Milk Chocolate Canapes.

Our prize draw winner is Mrs Margaret Wadworth from Preston who wins a Cookie Choc Chip Slab.


WIN a romantic getaway for two in Saint Lucia

It doesn’t get much more romantic: a week with your loved one on a tropical island, enjoying our exquisite cacao cuisine and being pampered in our spa, with luxurious treatments inspired by the wild scents of the cocoa plantation around you. ENTER OUR COCOA JUVENATE VALENTINE’S COMPETITION AND YOU COULD WIN: • 7 nights at our Boucan hotel in Saint Lucia, staying in a Luxe Lodge • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel (alcoholic drinks not included) • A Tree-to-Bar experience, learning how chocolate is grown and made • Return flights to Saint Lucia 5 runners-up will win a gorgeous Cocoa Juvenate beauty hamper. Enter online and find out more at hotelchocolat.com/competitions before 14th February 2014


THE POD (Issue 1)  

Welcome to the first issue of the POD, the new look Club News with all the latest news and articles from the Chocolate Tasting Club at Hotel...

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