The newly installed Minister was looking to hear at first hand from fast growing UK manufacturing exporters, what the government should be doing to help them grow jobs and exports.
His first port of call of the day was to our chocolate factory at Huntingdon. After the initial pleasantries, and while the Cocoa Tea* was still warm, we got straight to it and listed out top 3 things which he could help us with.
First – why can’t we export our Champagne Truffles to the USA. Currently they are banned under an obscure part of their Anti-Terrorism legislation dealing with explosives and alcohol. Despite this, other chocolatiers seem to be able to offer Champagne Truffles so why can’t we? Our customers in Newbury St, Boston are always asking for them.
Second and third – there are two (un-named) government agencies who are currently weakening our export plans. They have to remain un-named I am afraid, as I am genuinely worried it would make things worse for us…
The Minister, until recently the Chairman of HSBC Bank (one of the banks which emerged least scathed by the banking crisis) was clearly very familiar with business, which is great to see in a senior politician.
Certainly came away with the strong feeling that the government wants brands and businesses like Hotel Chocolat to push hard to get the economy moving!
PS his aide has already been in touch to obtain full details of the 3 points on our hit list…
* Cocoa Tea Recipe
50% water, 50% skimmed milk
Boil the water in a pan
Add 2 soup spoons of grated Saint Lucian Cocoa Beans to the boiling water and whisk in
After 30 seconds of fast boil, remove from heat and add the milk
Whisk further, then ready to serve
Cocoa Tea is:
- more like coffee than hot chocolate
- thin, invigorating with some bitterness
- very healthy
- very similar to what Samuel Pepys wrote about enjoying in 1600s London