The story behind the Velvetised Cream

7 Jun 2022


The story behind the Velvetised Cream

To understand the origins of the Velvetised Cream, three important players need to be introduced.

  1. The cacao pod – a legend in its own lifetime, the cacao pod provides us with so much inspiration. And our commitment to reducing waste and making the most of this amazing fruit has led us to some remarkable innovations.
  2. The Cacao Bar at our Rabot Hotel in St Lucia. This is where we first started playing with the flavour pairings of cacao and alcohol. With cacao all around us, including the sweet, juicy pulp that many chocolatiers discard, we’ve long known how exquisite cacao tipples can be.
  3. David Demaison. Our Executive Development Chef is integral to the flavours and recipes, and is the man who first mixed Velvetised hot chocolate and alcohol.

David’s story

From his family bakery to Michelin-starred restaurants,
our Group Development Chef brings a story of classical French flair.

When he first started at catering school at the age of 14, David Demaison found himself drawn to making desserts and pastries more than anything else.

“Perhaps it’s because I grew up in my grandparents’ bakery,” he says. “My bedroom was above it. My biggest memory is coming downstairs every morning and smelling the freshly baked croissants, breads and pastries. It was magical.”

After working at restaurants in his native southwest France, David’s talent as a pastry chef was spotted early on. In 2005, he was recruited by Alain Ducasse to work as the pastry chef at the triple Michelin-starred Le Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo, one of the world’s top five restaurants at the time. It launched a career for David in kitchens around the world, from Scotland to Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand, before joining Hotel Chocolat in 2010.

Since then David has been a key ingredient ever since, masterminding the cacao cuisine menus for our cafés and restaurants in Saint Lucia, Japan and the UK and crafting many new recipes and products, from our Ice Cream of the Gods to our drinking chocolates and lattes. He also helped perfect the Velvetiser.

A delicate touch

It’s this pan-chocolate mastery that helped David to develop a new category of product which has gone on to become a cult classic. Starting life surrounded by cacao, the Velvetised Cream range is an expanding, revolutionary range of chocolate tipples. Cacao and alcohol is not an obvious pairing: there are alcohols that mask the delicate, malty profile of cacao, or overwhelm the deep and varied notes of chocolate. Then there are those that complement it, elevate it, and ultimately create a unique drink that is more than the sum of its parts.

David’s meticulous approach is celebrated in every rich yet delicate tasting note. Also celebrated is the St Lucian heritage that inspires so much at Hotel Chocolat. The Cacao Bar, whether at the Rabot hotel, St Lucia, or Rabot restaurant, London, is the beating heart of the Velvetised Cream. Years crafting, tasting and refining our tipples, using our flavour expertise to pair the cacao surrounding our bar on our Rabot Estate, Saint Lucia, with the alcohol in our chillers.

Island culture in a glass

As David muses, “In the Caribbean, chocolatey, creamy alcoholic drinks are regularly enjoyed on ice, on the beach or after a hard day’s work. It’s a different way of looking at products like Velvetised Creams, and one which resonates with me. I believe in the right drink for the right moment, but I love drinking Velvetised Creams all year round. They can be very comforting in cold weather, but also amazingly refreshing in summer.”

“We know from mixing hot chocolate with Velvetised Cream that it goes together very well. It’s not easy to introduce this strength of ingredient and keep the flavour balance perfect.” In short; only a chocolatier truly obsessed with cacao could have done it.

Enjoy Velvetised Cream on ice as a refreshing summer tipple