Could you possibly have grabbed a better spot to open any type of shop never mind Ireland’s first Hotel Chocolat Cafe! Right at City Hall where Donegall Sq East, North and Wellington Place meet. This has to be one of the most prime locations in town.
Hotel Chocolat has been around since the early 90s (remember then?!) first selling online and eventually opening the first shop in 2004. From then they have opened more than 90 shops along with cafes, restaurant and yes, even an actual hotel, located at their plantation in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean no less. On top of this they have won awards, opened a School of Chocolate and strive to break the mould when it comes to making chocolate.
Their “MO” so to speak, is embedded in being 3 things, original, authentic and ethical. Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris right from the get go 13 years ago have been on a mission of innovation, uniqueness and responsibility, and now like Dorothy’s house on top of the wicked witch, they’ve landed their cafe right in the middle of Belfast for all to see (hopefully nobody was flattened in the process).
Susan and Holly, Manager and Assistant Manager of the cafe have a great enthusiasm for their work as well as what must be phenomenal willpower, as I believe I would be hitting twenty stone in such a position. The bright lights and the wall to wall chocolate had me mesmerized, mouth gaping goldfish-like when I first walked in.
My salted caramel brownie frappe went down a treat on a hot Tuesday afternoon and got nicer as I drank with the cream sinking into the liquid and really thickening it up and adding to the chocolateyness!(made up word :)). Nic got a hot chocolate latte and had it made with coconut milk, one of the many different options you have when ordering your drink. We also got to try a sample of the ice cream, made using Jersey cream and theres a few different sauces available. I’d recommend the coconut & pineapple, beaut.
Hotel Chocolat have a long standing partnership with Diabetes UK and as well as using mostly cocoa and minimising the use of sugar in their products as standard, they have a ‘Less Sweet’ range geared towards customers on low sugar diets. If this is you, be sure to ask when you’re in the shop and the HC team will be able to advise you best.
A great little post work sit down and natter with the Wife over something sweet and delicious. Of course we couldn’t leave without buying some treats to take home!