I hope you all had a good Summer? The second half of mine was filled with my nieces and nephew who staying with me for a few weeks in August, mostly along with their parents, but when my brother took his wife away to Barcelona for an early birthday celebration, they left me with the kids for six days. I wasn’t completely on my own, but I was slightly daunted as to how to entertain a 12, 9 and 3.5 year old for so long. So, I contacted the lovely, lovely people of Hotel Chocolat and asked if they could help me occupy them for one day and allow us to visit inside their Cambridgeshire factory. What kind of cool aunt would I be to let them see inside a chocolate factory that isn’t open to the public? A pretty awesome one, was the verdict.
Hotel Chocolate’s Mission Statement is at each entrance
The morning of our big adventure, the littlest one, upon being woken up to go, bounced out of bed shouting “Chocolate Factory!”. Sadly it didn’t take long into our visit for the early morning wake up to take effect. “Chocolate factories are tiring” was the verdict as she hung from my neck whilst we were guided between machines, about an hour into our tour. Then we came across another flow of chocolate items and she perked up again. I think her lasting memory will undoubtedly be of the gorgeous pink-ribboned goody bag that she received (we each got one – thank you, Hotel Chocolat!). Her little face lit up as she examined the contents and showed off her chocolate fairy and declared how she was going to share her treats with mum and dad and EVERYONE. Bless.
My gorgeous nieces in their factory kit – whoever knew anyone could look cute in a green hairnet?
I’ve been inside quite a few factories in my life and Hotel Chocolat is one of the cleanest and most attractive I’ve ever been in. It is spacious and well-decorated and looks very efficient, yet has real people doing specialist tasks and I’ve honestly never seen factory workers who seemed as happy in their job. I’m sure the product they are working with makes a difference, but I think there’s something in the way that Hotel Chocolat care for their people, something I see in their shops as well. I’m a big believer that the culture of a business is driven by the leader and knowing Angus, it is no surprise that the workers are considerate and passionate people.
Some of the Hotel Chocolate factory team
We got to see chocolates being made and packed and I had to be dragged away from the pipes of flowing chocolate. The coolest room is absolutely the development kitchen, which overlooks the factory and has gorgeous big kitchen tables and a product display and ingredients to tinker with. As well as a variety of equipment and some computers too, which contrary to popular belief (and probably the wishes of my fellow developers as well) are equally important tools in developing products that will launch successfully and sell well.
The Hotel Chocolat development kitchen in the middle of a meeting