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(PRESS RELEASE) — High Commissioner for Saint Lucia His Excellency Guy Mayers joined Hotel Chocolat CEO Angus Thirlwell to tell the story of the first decade of their cocoa renaissance and to set out plans for the second decade.
Mr Thirlwell explained the gradual build-up of support for the unique taste of their Saint Lucia chocolate grades, helped by winning 22 awards and continual promotion in their 100+ UK stores.
Prior to 2006, before Hotel Chocolat, Saint Lucian cocoa beans were only ever exported to be mixed with lower grade beans and never celebrated as a pure single origin taste in their own right.
After Hotel Chocolat invested in a cocoa estate on the island, the full deliciousness of Saint Lucian chocolate could be offered to the world, competing alongside other high quality bean countries such as Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad.
Delegates at the high-profile event expressed support for the company’s pioneering “Engaged Ethics” approach to cocoa growing which had led to a sustainable upswing in the prospects of cocoa growing on the island, with an estimated 5,000% increase in cocoa GDP in the first decade due to a substantially higher price plus a higher yield. An estimated 300 jobs have been created and cocoa growing is now enjoying a renaissance across the island.
Former Trade and Commerce Minister, His Excellency Guy Mayers expressed his ongoing support to Hotel Chocolat, who own the Rabot Estate cocoa plantation and Boucan eco-hotel in Soufriere: “I have been deeply impressed with Hotel Chocolat’s achievements since they became cocoa growers back in 2006. They have led a transformation of the local cocoa growing economy and model, with their new approach to sustainable luxury. Their sincere respect for our country has resulted in their pioneering Engaged Ethics programme, with over 200 local farmers now members. Not only have they rejuvenated cacao growing here, they have solidified our reputation as top-quality cocoa producers and considerably boosted the attractions of our tourism industry, profiling the strong food culture of the island.”
Angus Thirlwell, CEO and Cofounder, Hotel Chocolat comments: “Our local business depends on the support and encouragement of the Saint Lucian people and their government. To put it simply, we just couldn’t have done it without them. Our vision was always to bring together the worlds of luxury chocolate and cacao agriculture – we believe that cacao growers deserve the same respect as wine growers. By buying cacao harvests at a good price, the farmers can reinvest in their farms, and along with technical support and access to high quality cocoa – it’s a win- win for everyone. I am immensely proud of the 120-strong team that make up Hotel Chocolat Saint Lucia, headed for over 10 years by our West Indies CEO, Phil Buckley”.
The 25th World Travel Awards this month named Boucan by Hotel Chocolat Leading Hotel of Saint Lucia 2018.
Hotel Chocolat stocks its Saint Lucia chocolate in 115 company owned shops across the UK and Scandinavia and has announced the opening of locations in New York and Tokyo this year which will be well stocked with Saint Lucian chocolate.