Cocoa news from around our world…
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.
– By Alex Hare
United States of America: 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.
– By Alex Hare
Saint Lucia: The 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
– By Alex Hare
The Ghana Appeal: Helping the cocoa farming community of Osuben
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 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.
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.” 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.
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.
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
– By Terry Waters