Friday, 23 November 2007

Bring back the Home Nations Tournament - Summer 2008

According to the BBC News, there could be a Celtic Cup without England..

The FA don’t have long to decide - and given their recent performance, will they be able to make a decision quickly?

Don’t let them waste this opportunity to make sure we have some British and Irish football to watch next year, join the Bring back the Home Nations Tournament facebook group and invite your friends!

England can destroy Scotland... surely... ? Are Northern Ireland now a better team than the Republic... and surely Wales are to remain the laughing stock of the Home Nations...

For the majority of fans born in the last twenty five years, the only fixtures that have really segregated the British football fan along lines of nationality have been those chance meetings in major cup competitions.

Every English fan will remember David Seaman saving Gary McAllister's penalty and Gascoigne's wonder goal during Euro '96 and as such, the British Championship - or Home Nations - when conceived back in 1883, would have known little about how important these matches would become.

Bring back the Home Nations Tournament - Summer 2008

Join in the support to bring back the home nations tournament by following the following facebook group, especially with news they are going to have a Celtic Cup without England! - Act Now! - Bring back the Home Nations Tournament - Summer 2008

Holidays are coming - Coca-Cola Christmas Advert is back!

It's now officially Christmas

Christmas (not Xmas - read my Christmas vs Xmas post) is all about tradition! And for me the Christmas season really does begin with the old traditional Coca Cola festive ad campaign, which Coca-Cola has decided to re-use its best-loved ads during the Christmas period, with "holidays are coming".

The "holidays are coming" ad features a train of red Coca-Cola lorries bedecked in fairy lights driving through a snowy landscape. Everything they pass lights up as people turn to stare at the lorries driving through.

Many last year blamed Coca Cola for a poor Christmas after they didn't release the iconic advertisment in 2006. Many a petition was signed, calls to the Coca-Cola customer hotline and recently a Facebook group dedicated directly to bringing the advert back! This shows great stength of consumer power and also that TV advertising is still one power media!

So here's to Christmas, and don't forget those Christmas Gifts!!

Here's the longer version...

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Online publishers participate in pure chocolate indulgence

Online publishers of Hotel Chocolat were treated to a true chocolate indulgent treat when we hosted our Christmas Gifting Online Publisher event in our Kensington Store last Thursday.

Profound words from Lynn and Chris Bishop
Our online partners travelled from as far as Toronto to be part of the chocolate shindig. The night was hosted by Lynn (Hotel Chocolat People & Ethics Director) and myself with the main purpose to thank our online ambassadors for their contribution to our company for the past year, let them exclusively sample some of our new range and also drink plenty of champagne!

The glamour girls from TMN media sample our champagne truffles
The evening was kick started with a little introduction from myself and then words from Lynn explaining Hotel Chocolat’s history and growth but also the key factor to our success, which are the relationships we keep. Whether with our chocolatiers, our customers or our partners… relationships are vital in the success of our business and the night was about celebrating the relationships we have built and strengthening those with chocolate training and chocolate recipe inspirations.

Our Training team and Store Staff happily paraded some of our current and new product ranges and I was delighted to witness the full on engagement from our VIPs for the night. The dusted Champagne Truffles are always a big hit and accompanied the complimentary champagne for the evening, Moet. The chocolate tastes where then widened with white, milk and dark chocolate offerings and then the chocolate journey was then heighten with our 72% Dark Chocolat Purist Bar with Chilli & Pink Peppercorns and then also our Cocoa Nib Balsamic Vinegar and Cocoa & Chilli Olive Oil served with classic big rustic French baguettes.

Chilli and Chocolate Tasting
It was a pleasure to meet online publishers of Hotel Chocolat; some was a first time meet (which was a great pleasure) and naturally catch up with old friends. The night was certainly a success from my point of view as everyone enjoyed the full on chocolate indulgence inside Hotel Chocolat.

A huge thanks for the night to the following people
- Liz, Katy, Lynn and Gabriela for your on the day expertise, phenomenal chocolate tasting database, profound words to open the evening and providing the chocolates!
- Andy & Dan for allowing us into your store after hours and entertaining our guests with vast product knowledge.
- Matt for being the paparazzi for the night and offering to buy me a pint!

Also, not to forget Charley and Zia our online socialites from Immediate Future and Sallie and Dom from Commission Junction.

But most of all thanks to the online publishers for your attendance and the best of luck in your future promotions for our company.

Thanks, Chris

Friday, 16 November 2007

Win a Cocoa Adventure in St. Lucia courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

Ever dreamt of spending a week basking in the Caribbean sun, enjoying the rolling views and taking private walks through one of St Lucia’s most historic estates? Well thanks to Hotel Chocolat, the luxury chocolate retailer, this could soon become a reality for one lucky couple.

Hotel Chocolat, Rabot Estate - St LuciaPhoto: Jake Perks from Flickr

Set high up in the Soufière hills, amongst the cocoa trees, Hotel Chocolat’s very own Rabot Estate is one of the jewels in St Lucia’s crown. Not only will you have free run of the estate, but you'll also be able to plant your own cocoa tree and even harvest a few pods if you feel up to it...!. Ensuring you can get to the heart of the story of cocoa - and an exclusive glimpse at the very origins of chocolate.If this sounds like the perfect break, and for gourmet chocolate lovers how could it not be, then entry couldn’t be easier.

Hotel Chocolat, Rabot Estate - St LuciaSimply answer the three questions about the estate on the Hotel Chocolat site and you and a partner could be whisked away to the idyllic setting of St Lucia for the holiday of a life time.

The prize includes:

• Return flights to St Lucia
• Accommodation for two on the Rabot Estate
• Guided tour of the cocoa estate
• The opportunity to take part in cocoa harvesting (not compulsory!)
• A cocoa tree planted in your honour

For your chance to win please visit:

Best of Luck!


Monday, 5 November 2007

Affiliate Chocolate Recipe Comp to win increased commission!!

A little ad-hoc chocolate related incentive...

I've just blogged about Angus Thirlwell's US debut appereance on American television - A simple chocolate dessert by a European chocolatier... and basically Angus was invited on the show to make some Caramel Kiss Pots which is an alternative chocolate recipe idea from our Liquid Chocolat range (Hot Chocolat) and naturally to promote our US chocolate gifting website.


I'd delighted to announce the Hotel Chocolat - A4U Recipe Competition open!

Simply create a chocolate themed recipe (ideally using Hotel Chocolat products!) and then post it on the following post on the A4Uforum... the 4 finalist will automatically receive 2% increased commission, and the winner will receive a £100 bonus, a Hotel Chocolat recipe book and also 4% increase commission

....naturally pictures/videos will assist in deciding the winner

4 recipes to be chosen for Angus to cook and to evalute the overall winner entries close on the 30th November 2007.

I'll aim to pick a winner every Friday (9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th) and either publish on the date or the following Monday.

For ideas either look at our Chocolate Recipes section on the site or view our Gourmet Chocolate Specialities page for some awesome products - Cocoa Pasta, Cocoa Bean & Chilli Olive Oil, Spiced Savoury Chocolate Sauce.

Remember these chocolate recipes (with links to Hotel Chocolat products) will all be great content supportive for your own affiliate sites!

T & C's
- Valid Hotel Chocolat affiliates only (sign up if not! link below)
- Entries close 30th November 2007
- Commission increase valid until 31st December 2007
- My decision is final (I've always wanted to say that!)

Best of luck to everyone and start placing those recipes on the A4Uforum....

Any questions or comments please contact me....

Thanks, Chris

A few notes....

Full Christmas affiliate update will be shortly this week (great incentives, new creative, product reviews, cash bonuses and the annual Hotel Chocolat Affiliate Awards!) and the US Hotel Chocolat affiliate program is in the pipeline and naturally as soon as we are ready this will be launch.

Christmas vs. Xmas

I was going to call this "Let's get rid of the X!" and plead from a traditional point of view for putting "Christ" back in and using "Christmas" instead of "Xmas". But I changed my mind after checking a dictionary. Which states the "X" in Xmas does really mean "Christ".

In fact, I learned something completely new and found that there are more abbreviations where the X is used instead of Christ, without changing the meaning. I learned that "xn" means "Christian" and "xnty" means "Christianity". And when looking up just the "X" as a letter, I found it to also mean "Christ", even without the connection with the word Xmas.
And here I was, worried that the world might be starting to forget about Christmas and its origins! Well, I still think there is that tendency, but at least I know now that this is not reflected in the word "Xmas".
So I’ll get off my soap box now so whether you are looking to buy/receive Christmas gifts or xmas gifts it doesn’t seem to matter… well as long as they are chocolate gifts from Hotel Chocolat!
Oh and let’s not forget Christmas is a time for hope, cheer, and goodwill for all mankind

A simple chocolate dessert by a European chocolatier

Hotel Chocolat debut on US TV!!! Woohoo

Here's a link to Angus Thirlwell’s (co-founder of Hotel Chocolat) first US TV appearance on ABC7's - View from the Bay.

Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat on US TV

Angus was invited on the show to make some Caramel Kiss Pots which is an alternative chocolate recipe idea from our Liquid Chocolat range (Hot Chocolat) and to promote our US chocolate gifting website.

Any aspiring chocolatiers please feel free to send me a picture of your Caramel Kiss Pot or any Chocolate Inspiration and I’ll review with Angus and I am sure we can pass some chocolate candy treats for good attempts…

P.S. Angus – I love the Apron!