As a die-hard Hotel Chocolat fan (see previous post from four years ago), the following news has had me doing a jig of joy since last week. I am delighted to announce that luxury British chocolatier and cocoa grower Hotel Chocolat, will be opening a brand-new store in Derby.

This latest addition which opens in May forms part of the company’s boutique portfolio that boasts locations across the UK, Channel Islands and Europe.

I am very pleased, because this means I can pop into town to get chocolate for my recipes, when I’m baking for the Derby Book & Cake Club.

This latest opening continues the company’s strong design ethos that successfully marries the dual personalities of Hotel Chocolat – namely the sophisticated, fashion-led side of its stylish products and the earthy, authentic aspects of a hands-on cocoa grower.

CEO Angus Thirlwell said:

Each and every one of our stores is designed to be a real sanctuary for our guests, which connects with the escapism of Hotel Chocolat – so we go to great lengths to ensure they are restful, elegant places that are easy to navigate. But we also want them to reflect that we are one of the world’s few cocoa growing chocolatiers, which is why you’ll find weathered wooden cabinets going hand in hand with sleek, polished surfaces.

At Hotel Chocolat you’ll find everything from elegant gift boxes of chocolate to your everyday chocolate fix, all made according to the mantra – More Cocoa, Less Sugar – for a satisfying cocoa hit.

I adore white chocolate, which I find some chocolate connoisseurs can get sniffy about. Well, Hotel Chocolat’s house white chocolate contains 36% cocoa – more than you’ll find in many milk chocolates – while the house milks are 40% and 50% and the house dark is 70%.

That’s not to mention the range of rare and vintage chocolate bars, which includes single-origin chocolates made with premium cocoa from around the world, and single-côte chocolate – made with beans from a specific terroir, or growing environment – the cocoa content of which can be up to 100%.

Looking for something unusual? For fans of a particular drink there are cocoa-infused interpretations such as Cocoa Gin and Cocoa Beer, or the new teaolat: a light, all-natural infusion that blends herbs, spices and cacao shells for a refreshing cuppa that’s tailored to your mood.

You can also set down your shopping bags and take a weight off at the café, over a range of drinks such as hot chocolat’s, Coffee Chocolat Lattes and teaolat, as well as snacks including irresistible brownies.

I tend to shop till I drop, and I cannot think of a better pit-stop than my local Hotel Chocolat café. I don’t think I will ever get over the thrill of saying that – ‘my local Hotel Chocolate café’, and I envisage many trips there.

The Derby café is featuring the NEW cocoa nib Ice Cream of the Gods, which is exclusive to select stores only. Infused with St Lucian Theobroma cocoa nibs, the direct translation is: ‘cacao, food of the gods’.

Derby opens in May and there will be a customer shopping day after the opening. Visitors to the store on this special customer shopping day will be treated to free chocolate samples, as well as café samples and 15% off throughout the store. That’s in addition to being able to discover the range of new season chocolates.

If you haven’t heard about Hotel Chocolat, they’re a luxury British cocoa grower and chocolatier founded in 2004 to make exciting chocolate with three guiding principles – authenticity, originality andethics – that remain central to the brand’s success today.

With its Rabot Estate cocoa plantation and Boucan Hotel & Restaurant in Saint Lucia, a chocolate manufacturing facility in Cambridgeshire and stores and cocoa cafés across the UK and internationally, Hotel Chocolat occupies a unique space – being able to link all aspects of chocolate from the tree to the consumer.

Hotel Chocolat also have concessions in John Lewis stores nationwide and in David Jones, Australia. The brand is constantly evolving. In 2011 Hotel Chocolat opened a boutique hotel in the grounds of Rabot Estate on Saint Lucia, which is also home to Boucan Restaurant and its pioneering menu of ‘cacao cuisine’.

In 2013, they opened two cocoa cuisine restaurants inspired by Boucan: Rabot 1745 in London’s Borough Market and Roast+Conch in Leeds. Both restaurants reconnect the world of cocoa growing with the luxury of eating it.

Recent awards include: ranked first amongst the ‘Coolest Hotels of 2015’ by the Caribbean Journal; won Gold for Best Flavoured Milk Chocolate Bar (Hotel Chocolat Borough Market Blend Gin Bar 65%), Best Filled Chocolate – Alcohol (Hotel Chocolat Single Malt Cardhu Whisky) and Best Flavoured Drinking Chocolate (Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel) plus four Silver and seven Bronze awards at the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2015; several wins at The Great Taste Awards; Five Bubble Review for the Roast+Conch restaurant on TripAdvisor; Cocoa Juvenate Best Body Moisturiser at the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2013; number one spot in ‘The Sunday Times Fast Track 100’; one of the UK’s prestigious ‘CoolBrands’ for the fourth year running; Boucan Hotel named by Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2012 as a top new hotel – “understated luxury with a hint of sex appeal” – and Hotel Chocolat named as the ‘most advocated’ British brand in the UK in research by Bain & Co 2011.

*Note: featured image is for illustration purposes only*

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