Hotel Chocolat

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Hotel Chocolat UK
Limited Company
Industry Chocolatier
Founded 1988
Headquarters Royston, Hertfordshire
Number of locations
Increase 81 (2015)
Key people
Angus Thirlwell, Founder
Peter Harris, Founder
Products Chocolate, Hot Chocolate, Gifts, Cooking Chocolate, Cuisine Items
Number of employees
700–750
Website www.hotelchocolat.com

Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier and cocoa grower, with over seventy shops in the United Kingdom. Hotel Chocolat is the only company in the United Kingdom to grow cocoa on its own plantation.

History[edit]

Hotel Chocolat, Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London
Hotel Chocolat, Boar Lane, Leeds

In 1988, Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris began designing and selling mints as "MMC", before moving to chocolates, some five years later. Rebranded as "Geneva Chocolates", the current co-founders of Hotel Chocolat adapted trade to the catalogue-based world and before long, had steered towards the name "Choc Express". Throughout these next few years, Angus and Peter had turned their focus on making this brand of exclusive chocolates available to UK consumers.

In 1998, the Chocolate Tasting Club was launched in Britain, and now currently has around 100,000 members.[1] To date, the Tasting Club has trialled over 1,500 different recipes. As detailed on their website, the Chocolate Tasting Club sends out boxes to customers all over the country, and each month.

In 2003, Choc Express rebranded as Hotel Chocolat and launched its first retail store in the centre of Watford. The company then grew initially to having four stores in the East Anglian area, with stores in Milton Keynes, Cambridge and St Albans opening between 2005 and 2006. Today, the company has over 70 around the UK.[2]

In 2006, the company officially acquired the Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia, West Indies, and is, to date, the only company in the UK to own its own cocoa plantation.[3] This plantation is one of the reasons given for the company choosing not to be Fair Trade-accredited, as only smallholdings are allowed.

In 2011, Hotel Chocolat opened its Boucan Hotel in Saint Lucia, West Indies.[4] The hotel sits on the Rabot Estate which is perched high up between the Piton mountains. The hotel currently has six lodges and a cocoa-inspired Boucan Restaurant.

Hotel Chocolat has been awarded Emerging Retailer of the Year by Retail Week and nominated as one of the UK’s CoolBrands.[5] The company was also awarded the silver prize in the 2009 Academy of Chocolate awards.

In September 2012, The company opened their second Scottish store in Aberdeen.

In November 2013, Hotel Chocolat opened two UK restaurants, Rabot 1745 in London's Borough Market, and Roast + Conch in Leeds.[6]

Rabot Estate, St. Lucia[edit]

The 140-acre (0.57 km2) Rabot Estate is in the south west of St Lucia, near Soufrière, the original French capital. St Lucia lies in the cocoa belt which girdles the earth, plus or minus 20 degrees latitude from the Equator[citation needed]. The estate is divided up into 16 different cortès or areas of terroir, with names steeped in history, such as L’Hermitage, Ti Jardin, Marcial, Mathilde and Rameau. The cocoa trees of Rabot Estate are primarily Trinitario species rich in Criollo genes, and with new trees continually being planted, record quantities of cocoa are being harvested[citation needed].

The Rabot Estate is part of Hotel Chocolat’s 'Engaged Ethics' Cocoa Programme (HCCAPEE). Over a hundred new jobs have been created since the estate’s opening, and with prices guaranteed to be 30–40% above the world market price of cocoa, as well as being paid within a week of selling their crops, local farmers are provided with a secure income[citation needed].

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hope, Katie. "The man who built the Hotel Chocolat empire". BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Lockley, Marc. [Store Wars: Thorntons and Hotel Chocolat "https://www.theguardian.com/money/poll/2012/feb/09/store-wars-thorntons-hotel-chocolat"] Check |url= value (help). The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2014.  External link in |title= (help)
  3. ^ Hope, Katie. "The man who built the Hotel Chocolat empire". BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Portas, Mary. "Mary Portas visits Hotel Chocolat". The Telegraph. 
  5. ^ http://www.superbrands.uk.com/programmes/issues/7/cb06_hotelchoc.pdf
  6. ^ Baker, Andrew. "Hotel Chocolat turns 10: the sweet taste of success". The Independent. 

External links[edit]