At Hotel Chocolat, our chocolatiers are our heroes – a bunch of endlessly creative connoisseurs with a passion for all things cocoa.
You can meet our resident chocolatiers in our restaurants and cocoa bar-cafes, where you can watch them roasting and conching beans live, each with their own flair for the art of making chocolate.
And hidden behind the scenes are ‘The Inventors’ – the gang of ingenious chocolatiers at work in our development kitchen in Huntingdon, conjuring up innovative recipes for our shops and Chocolate Tasting Club selections.
Now you can get to know them all a little better, in a series of online video interviews in which our chocolatiers open up about their intimate relationship with the cocoa bean.
Some of our team, like Daniel Morris and Natasha Pang (pictured), began as staff in HC stores before training to take up the chocolatier’s palette knife. “Every day, people tell me I have the best job in the world, and I have to agree,” says Daniel. “Creating chocolate straight from the bean is incredibly exciting and very few people have the opportunity to do it.”
If you’re visiting us in Edinburgh, don’t miss the Water of Leith
The Water of Leith is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept open secrets, and a great walk to go on if you’re visiting our cocoa bar-cafe in Edinburgh.
This beautiful 12-mile stretch of walkway through the heart of the city is a project started in the 1970s. Well known to Edinburgh’s residents, relatively few visitors find their way along this strange green corridor.
Cutting discreetly through the city centre, the hidden path is abundant with wildlife from otters to badgers, roe deer and even albino squirrels.
Designated an Urban Wildlife Site, the mystical waterway snakes from the foot of the Pentlands to the Leith docks.
Butterflies blaze through river banks richly carpeted in wildflowers, while willow herb trails through the clear water along the sleepy wooded trail. Look out too for more than 80 species of bird, including heron, dipper, wagtail, goosander and kingfisher.
It’s worth walking the whole route, but our favourite part runs from Stockbridge, about a 15-minute walk away from our cocoa bar-cafe at John Lewis, to the Gallery of Modern art.
This mysterious stretch is home to the fairytale Dean Village and a life-sized statue of the celebrated British artist Anthony Gormley.
Standing knee deep in the cool water, the figure is part of 6 Times, a landmark sculptural project. It’s the first of six ‘Gormleys’ that appear at various points along the route from here down to Leith.
‘For me, it’s about using the Water of Leith as a living bloodstream. I’ve always been very affected by the river because it’s untouched,’ says Gormley.
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Location: Osuben, Kwahu District
The Osuben Medical Centre: Nearly finished
We’re now very close to the completion of a new medical centre for Osuben, the village at the heart of the cocoa farming community in Eastern Ghana we’ve been supporting since 2001.
Funded by donations from our Tasting Club members, the centre will be big enough to accommodate two permanent members of staff, including a midwife, able to provide a 24/7 health service.
We know first-hand from people in the community how important the centre will be to them, especially for pregnant women. Local people have given the project their spare time and labour, and the Kwahu District Health Authority has agreed to supply staff and medicines.
JOIN OUR GHANA APPEAL
How you can help: We still need £3,815 to complete and equip the Osuben medical centre. We add 25p for every scorecard we receive from our Tasting Club members.
But 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 5YD.