today i discovered a brand that inspires from beginning to end. a brand with real ethics, a great story, a truly positive vision, a super-sexy shop-fit and a right-on retail experience to back its wonder product up. rabot estate is the real chocolate deal.
my photos are rubbish)
lets start at the very beginning with some background shall we…..the rabot estate is saint lucia’s oldest cocoa estate, and was first established as an agricultural estate in 1745. it was bought 5 years ago by angus thirlwell and peter harris, the original founders of hotel chocolat . at that stage cacao growing on “saint lucia was on its knees”. since then, angus and peter have re-planted thousands of new cacao trees, raising the quality of the fermentation to get a fantastic quality bean, that creates a delicious chocolate with fruity and caramel flavours….yummo!! and put together a team of local talent led by phil buckley and his wife judy. i love the simple fact that staff are championed and their names are used on the website – immediately personalizing the business and getting back to the basics of great management and team spirit.
the rabot estate team have reached out to the other growers on the island as part of their engaged ethics program, an estimated 300 jobs have been created amongst the 80 growers that have formally joined the scheme. these 80 growers can engage in these commitments:
– all the beans they grow will be bought, giving a secure and guaranteed market
– they will be paid about 30%!!! above world cocoa prices
– will be paid 1 week after delivery
– free technical help
– subsidised cocoa tree seedlings to plant out
and then for the extreme chocolate afficianado, there is the hotel chocolat tasting club, of which there is 100,000 members already. wonderful.