THE REAL WILLY WONKAS
a look behind the secrets of Britain’s biggest independent CHOCOLATE EMPIRE…
Chocolate Dreams Inside Hotel Chocolat Sunday, Channel 5 HD, 8pm
BRITONS EAT MORE chocolate than any other country in Europe and Hotel Chocolat, Britain’s biggest independent chocolate maker, produces a million items of confectionery every day to keep up with demand.
This two-part documentary explores how the company does it and follows a team of chocolatiers as they develop and pitch new chocolate creations.
In the first episode, Kiri Kalenko pitches her Lady Marmalade chocolate, but first she has to get it past the tough critics on the tasting panel. ‘When you work quite closely on something and you’re really happy with it and someone doesn’t like it, it can make you a bit nervous,’ she says.
On the taste testing panel is Hotel Chocolat’s chief executive, Angus Thirlwell, who co-founded the empire in 1993.
Because soil and climate affect the flavour of a cocoa crop, he visits the company’s 140-acre cocoa plantation in St Lucia several times a year to check on the latest harvest. Thirlwell also does regular spot checks on the company’s 100-plus outlets.
‘I’m looking to see if the stock levels are good and the signage is straight – I’m always on the lookout for crimes against good retailing!’ he says.
CO-FOUNDER ANGUS THIRLWELL