rabot estate is the real chocolate deal.

 

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

 the shop-fit is earnest, engaging, exciting + environmentally friendly. the combination of marble and a patchwork of recycled timbers in the displays is both elegant + smart – many of these being transportable. a slide show of images from the rabot estate in st lucia including many of the working team is eloquent and eye-catching. information boards give historical cacao and chocolate quotes, these tidbits of history fill  otherwise empty areas of wall within the space. the borough market staff were incredibly friendly and even better – well-informed, with a true knowledge of the product and the processes involved, they also really cared about the company. tasting samples were evident and everywhere. this is seriously one of the best retail experiences i have ever had. wow – get yourself to borough market and get yourself some.

and then for the extreme chocolate afficianado, there is the hotel chocolat tasting club, of which there is 100,000 members already. wonderful.

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