What does an average working day look like?
Wake up, think about food. . . . that usually remains a constant throughout the day. Check emails and the various post-it notes I’ve scribbled to myself as a kind of creative ideas “to do” list. Don an apron and set about the first chocolate making of the day, it might be having a bit of a play with a new ingredient we’ve received, or working on a brief from the commercial team for a seasonal or core range chocolate. Or it could be I’ve had an idea for a new creation and I just want to see where it takes me. . . . There will undoubtedly be some chocolate tasting throughout the day. We’ll usually review the products made in the factory 2 days previously, just to make sure they all taste and look how they should before going out to customers. And at some point during the day I’ll be picking up a pencil or pen to sketch out a few ideas, possibly for a new mould we want to produce or create the menu sketches for our Tasting Club boxes.
What has been your most favourite concoction?
Our salted caramel hot chocolate, it’s deliciously moreish. . . .
Are you constantly looking for new ideas, or is that the easy bit?
We’re always striving to make new and exciting chocolates, and ideas come from so many different sources. From our customers, the retail teams, discussions during a Wednesday Chocolate Tasting meeting, a dessert or cocktail one of us had.. The list goes on, the difficult bit for us it filtering and prioritising them really.
How long between idea and it being on the shelves?
This can be anything from under a month to over a year. The beauty of being a cocoa grower, chocolate maker and retailer is that we can make the decisions as to what, where and when we launch a product. For example when we launched our core Supermilk 65% cocoa products we went from development to in store in under a month. While for a lot of seasonal products we’re working over a year in advance to allow us time for things like new and innovative packaging, new mould development, sourcing of new ingredients.
Find out more about Hotel Chocolat here.