Culture Food & Wine hot news Hot News Luxury Hotels People

Luxury Ivory Coast chocolate debuts at InterContinental Hong Kong

Axel Emmanuel’s chocolates are the highlight of afternoon tea at Hotel InterContinental Hong Kong, through April 2020 – see the image, above, of Emmanuel with some members of Coopbel Coopérative du Bélier, which employs 200 women from farming families in the Ivory Coast. This initiative has empowered local women and communities, with both the farmers and their families involved not only in the harvesting of the cacao beans, but also the chocolate making process, with full traceability.

35-year old Ivorian, Axel Emmanuel, left his promising career as a banker to develop one of the first homegrown chocolate brands in the Ivory Coast.  “Le Chocolatier Ivoirien by Axel Emmanuel” featured in the Netflix Documentary “Rotten” – “Bitter Chocolate” (Season 2, Episode 5) in Fall 2019 as one of the initiatives helping to create systemic change in the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast.

Axel Emmanuel sold his first bar in 2015 and was previously crowned Chocolatier of Ivory Coast and Vice-Chocolatier of Africa; in 2015 President Ouattara named him Young Entrepreneur of the Year. “We did not have national chocolatiers so I rose to the challenge,” he says. His chocolates are “Made in Ivory Coast” using only natural flavours such as dried ginger, chili pepper or plaintain for taste with a stunning visual signature inspired by traditional African fabrics celebrating its African heritage. Axel Emmanuel’s mission is to ‘think global, but act local” by promoting better distribution of income from the exploitation of cacao through direct partnership with producers, including farmers and their communities in the value chain and raising awareness about the preservation of the environment.

“Le Chocolatier Ivoirien by Axel Emmanuel” Fair Trade Chocolate Afternoon Tea marks the Asia/Greater China debut of one of the Ivory Coast’s first ethically produced chocolates. Working directly with Axel Emmanuel, our Executive Chef Maxime Luvara and Executive Pastry Chef Christian Gonthier have been inspired to create a unique afternoon tea set showcasing Axel’s Fair Trade Chocolate. Sales of chocolate will help set up shops in rural areas of the Ivory Coast.

At InterContinental Hong Kong, it is well worth buying a room with access to the outstanding Club InterContinental Lounge: as well as superb dining options, this is a hotel that ‘works’, thanks to a marvellously-trained team led by GM Claus Pedersen.