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It all started with a Royal Visit
We're very proud to announce that on Friday 7th March, Rabot Estate played host to a royal visit from HRH The Prince of Wales. Prince Charles, together with the Duchess of Cornwall, visited the island to reinforce Britain’s ties as well as to promote sustainable development, environmental protection and youth opportunity.
On arrival at the plantation, Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris, Co-founders of Hotel Chocolat, invited him to cut the first ground at the site of our chocolate factory to be built among the cocoa trees. The Prince was then shown around the estate, given a demonstration in the art of grafting cocoa seedlings and invited to taste our single estate and single origin St Lucian chocolate.
The building of a chocolate factory in St Lucia was of particular interest to Prince Charles as it turns normal industry practice on its head. Usually, it is only the commodity crop, cocoa beans, that is exported with all of the value being added in an industrialised nation. This factory will allow us to create value on the island of St Lucia by exporting the finished product, St Lucian chocolate.
Local grower, John Modeste, who already supplies Hotel Chocolat with cocoa, was there to share the excitement as the Prince cut the first earth, "Hotel Chocolat has breathed new life into cocoa growing. Now I know I have a dependable market for my cocoa and am paid a fair price, promptly. In fact I am planting more cocoa and have taken on extra workers to help harvest as much as I can".
Angus, who spent half an hour showing the Prince around, said he had some encouraging things to say, "His Royal Highness was kind enough to say that he was aware at first hand of the difficulties of making an ethical project like this work and that he was impressed with our progress so far.
He also said he that he was very interested in coming back to see chocolate being made here, once the factory is up and running. And, although not a big chocolate eater, he did express a preference for our 72% St Lucia chocolate. In fact, the Prince left with a small supply for himself and made sure that he took some for the Duchess of Cornwall too!"