Food & Drink Awards 2018

Page 94 LUX 2018 Food & Drink Awards Pip's Real Hot Chocolate Co aims to bring a luxurious change to the hot chocolate market, offering clients a unique new experience that is the antithesis of traditional powdered hot chocolate products. Founder Phillip Easton provides us with a fascinating insight into the history of his firm and how it is changing the hot beverage market for the better. Pip's Real Hot Chocolate Co: Best Luxury Hot Chocolate Retailer 2018 Thanks to Phillip’s hard work and dedication, Pip's Real Hot Chocolate Co has gained a cult following among devotees of hot beverages and gourmets alike. Phillip begins by telling us the story of how the firm came about. “Several years ago, I started Pip’s Real Hot Chocolate Co in response to the poor hot chocolate offerings available in both shops and cafés. Powder-based, and mostly sugar, they leave an unsatisfying mouthfeel and strange aftertaste. As such, I began making my own hot chocolate at home by grating dark chocolate into heated milk before starting to add various spices and sweeteners. After some time, I realised that I was doing this because there were no options available, so I should start giving people those options. “My flagship product nowadays is the Real Hot Chocolate Coin. When I started Pip’s Real Hot Chocolate Co I designed the coins for coffee shops; allowing a drink to be made with no measuring and no messy spills necessary. This did work, but the time to make a drink was extended due to the denseness of the chocolate. Eventually I developed and provided a chocolate crumb instead of the coins, which allowed me to make my wholesale price more competitive, and speed up the process. As it’s not as fine as a powder, mess is still minimal. Right now, I am moving even further to make life better for my café customers. Some outlets have as many as seven different flavours from me, but this takes a lot of real-estate on the counter. Instead I’ve developed a unique flavouring system using the same concentrated natural flavours I use in the workshop, which allows just one chocolate to be stocked but a whole range to be offered with just a few small bottles – and no added sugar, unlike the commonly used flavour syrups.” Today, Phillip remains selective about those he supplies his products to so that he can ensure continued excellence for his drinkers, as he is proud to highlight. “Uniquely, Pip’s Real Hot Chocolate Co does not aim to react to change: we aim to create it. To offer my clients a unique drinking experience, I always ensure that the ingredients are natural, and come from the best sources. I use quality Belgian chocolate in most of my range, but where I don’t, I make my chocolate from scratch. Each café that serves me is vetted before I will supply them; ensuring that quality is served with quality. It is also important that my hot chocolate is the only one on the menu. Quality needs to be the benchmark, not the target.”