Choco­late heaven!

A mouth­wa­ter­ing new show lifts the lid on posh con­fec­tioner Ho­tel Choco­lat

Daily Mail Weekend Magazine - - CONTENTS - Tim Oglethorpe

Brits eat more choco­late than the rest of Europe – and that level is prob­a­bly about to sky­rocket. In­side Ho­tel Choco­lat, a new twopart Chan­nel 5 doc­u­men­tary, is con­fec­tionery heaven – and it will threaten the most care­fully con­trolled post-fes­tive diet.

The se­ries goes be­hind the scenes to re­veal the se­crets of Ho­tel Choco­lat, which makes 5 mil­lion choco­lates every week at its fac­tory in Hunt­ing­don, Cam­bridgeshire, with an­nual sales of over £100 mil­lion. In the fly-on-the-wall show, Ho­tel Choco­lat’s charis­matic co-founder and CEO An­gus Thirl­well tours the coun­try, vis­it­ing some of his 103 shops and cafes. ‘I al­ways look out for crimes against good re­tail­ing,’ grins An­gus, who’s slim for some­one who ap­pears to spend a lot of time taste-test­ing choco­late.

In the UK, we see him in the De­vel­op­ment Kitchen, try­ing out new recipes. Will choco­latier Kiri’s Lady Mar­malade, a con­fec­tion con­tain­ing lemon-flavoured gin and Coin­treau, be one of their ten new prod­ucts launched every month? When Kiri presents Lady Mar­malade to her bosses, they each have a red and green card – she needs a unan­i­mous sea of green cards to pass.

On the Caribbean is­land of St Lu­cia, An­gus is on the taste trail sam­pling new dishes for The Bou­can Ho­tel, the com­pany’s bou­tique hide­away which forms part of the 140-acre Rabot Es­tate, Ho­tel Choco­lat’s co­coa bean plan­ta­tion. Rooms at this adults-only ho­tel can be yours for a mere £400-plus a night.

The pres­sure is on for ex­ec­u­tive chef David De­mai­son. He needs the thumbs-up from An­gus and the man­agers be­fore his new dishes are put on the menu.

Sadly, David mis­lays his phone as he’s about to take pic­tures of the dishes so the ho­tel staff will know how to present them once David is in the UK. Some of his dishes, in­clud­ing chicken served on a white choco­late mash and mar­i­nated in lo­cal rum, go down a storm. But a lamb dish with a co­coa-in­fused sauce doesn’t find favour with An­gus – he found it too rich to leave room for dessert!

In­side Ho­tel Choco­lat is an unashamed cel­e­bra­tion of a Bri­tish suc­cess story. Start­ing out with a loan of £10,000 in 1993, which was used to sell choco­lates on­line, An­gus and co-founder Peter Har­ris opened their first store in Wat­ford in 2004. This week’s open­ing episode sees the launch of the 101st store, in Sun­der­land, an event of great per­sonal sig­nif­i­cance for the com­pany’s founders as they both have fam­ily con­nec­tions to the area.

‘I’m proud to have a store here,’ says An­gus, who at­tends the open­ing. ‘And suc­cess is about en­gag­ing with the pub­lic. Peo­ple look­ing closely at the prod­ucts are en­gaged cus­tomers.’

Now make a bee­line for that stash of Christ­mas choco­late you’ve got hid­den away! Choco­late Dreams: In­side Ho­tel Choco­lat, to­mor­row, 8pm, Ch 5.

The Bou­can Ho­tel in St Lu­cia and (be­low) An­gus Thirl­well

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.