What is Rabot 1745 and where did Hotel Chocolat come from?

15 Apr 2020

Food + Drink

Hotel Chocolat started in 2006 with the discovery of a neglected cocoa farm on St Lucia, called the Rabot Estate.

The Caribbean sea laps upon the golden sands of St Lucia’s shore, and the majestic Piton mountains jut up into the azure sky. In 2006, this idyllic island is where Hotel Chocolat founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris discovered a 250-year-old neglected farm, the Rabot Estate.

The Rabot Estate transformation

The origin of the name Rabot is unknown, but it was established in 1745, where it was used as a sugar farm by the British and the French. The rich fertile volcanic soil, tropical climate and perfect altitude mean that with a little love, cacao trees grow happily, producing the cacao pods used to make some of our chocolate. 

“Thanks to Hotel Chocolat, the cocoa trees are singing again.”

Charles Augustin, Island grower on St Lucia

In 2011, we opened the Rabot Hotel where we hoped to help support the local economy by supplying skilled employment. Nestled in the rainforest 1000ft above sea level, the hotel and restaurant offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life with our Cocoa Juvenate Spa and infinity pool. 

At the Rabot restaurant, our talented chefs use the rare cocoa growing on the Rabot Estate as a subtle spice in savoury cooking and as the star of our decadent desserts. One of St Lucia’s most popular foodie destinations, you can enjoy a cocoa bellini on our wooden terrace while the sun goes down behind the Petit Piton mountain.

Bringing Rabot to London

After the success of our Boucan restaurant in St Lucia, in 2013 we decided to bring our Caribbean and cocoa-inspired food to the UK. Our Rabot restaurant is tucked away in the gastronomic paradise of Borough Market, London, serving up the innovative cuisine that the Boucan restaurant is famous for. We also offer chocolate experiences, take-away chocolates and our Afternoon Tea of the Gods – a decadent treat to help you relax after enjoying the busy atmosphere of Borough Market. 

Our Engaged Ethics and sustainability mission mean that we care about how our produce is grown and raised. That means in both the London and St Lucia restaurants we use local, organic, seasonal ingredients wherever possible to support local farmers.

Why not book a table at our London restaurant and try our seared king scallops with cocoa nibs, or sample our savoury white chocolate mash – it shouldn’t work, but it does.

Rabot Beauty

Our beauty products are the most recent addition to our Rabot range. In 2017 we invited Andrew Gerrie (ex-director at Lush) to our Rabot Estate in St Lucia to see how we could develop the abundance of nature on our doorstep into skincare products that are kind to the skin. After experimenting and trying out new ideas, we developed a range of Rabot natural and nourishing cacao-rich beauty products, from balms and oils to scrubs, butters and mists. 

Launched in 2018, we like to think of our beauty products as containing the essence of our Rabot Estate in their bottles. Choose from our Liquid Chocolate Body Mask, which was inspired by our chocolate spa experience in our Boucan hotel spa, or our Smile Reviver bundle of exfoliating lip polish. They smell good enough to eat, but we’d recommend sticking to our Rabot restaurants if you’re feeling peckish! 

Our Rabot Beauty range is less about chocolate and more about unprocessed cacao. We highlight its subtle notes in our savoury dishes, or reveal its warm, earthy intense flavours in our desserts. Our beauty products use the natural emollient properties of cocoa butter to enrich the skin without relying on unpronounceable ingredients.

Our Rabot Estate is where Hotel Chocolat began, and has played a key role in developing our sustainability practices. If you fancy a treat, visit our restaurants or enrich yourself with our range of beauty products, or if you’re feeling like you need an escape, relax on the terrace of our St Lucia estate, looking over our cacao plantations that helped make the cocoa gin martini you’re sipping on.