• Our rating: 81.8% (1 review)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 65%
  • Guide Price: £5.00
  • Description by: Alex Rast
  • Production: Maker sourced beans, chocolate made elsewhere
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • cocoa solids (cocoa mass) sugar, emulsifier: soya lecithin

Initial red fruit flavour notes slowly diminish to reveal oaked wine, citrus and a hint of spices. Rated as our best cuvée yet from Rabot Estate, the beans benefited from a lower temperature roasting and avoiding the midday sun whilst drying. 120 hour long conch.

Hotel Chocolat – Rabot Estate 65%Chocolate Review Rating: 81.8% out of 100 based on 1 reviews.

Hotel Chocolat – Rabot Estate 65%

One of a new and much-expanded “Purist” line, which sees Hotel Chocolat establishing a collection targetted at a higher-end audience, probably people with at least some experience and appreciation of fine chocolate. While unlike the previous line, Hotel Chocolat doesn’t make it explicit, there is no reason not to believe it’s still being made for them by Coppeneur, who can certainly produce great chocolate, but for whom maddening inconsistency seems to be the pattern. Nonetheless, this is Hotel Chocolat’s “flagship” chocolate, and we might hope they’ve been particularly careful in managing its production. That they are willing to tinker with an established origin and bar clearly indicates that they are serious about improving, and this can bode only good for the future.

Reviews

Alex Rast: 13-Oct-2010

Posted: October 13, 2010 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
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Hotel Chocolat makes an effort here and stakes a claim to being serious about fine chocolate. Obviously, being from their own source, they have perhaps better control over the process than some others in the “Purist” line – although not total control. Is this the best Purist chocolate? No, but given that the Hacienda Iara 90% is one of the best bars, period, that’s not in itself a criticism. Still, there’s room to improve – it’s still a bit “bright” and harsh to convey the ultimate impression of balance. Nonetheless, it introduces a new type of bold, full fruitiness that sets it apart from the delicate nature of most fruity bars. One can’t help but feel this is best experienced in combination with another, perhaps earthier, perhaps lighter, chocolate to experience the refreshing contrast. Might Hotel Chocolat consider an approach along the lines of the Zotter Labooko concept? Worth a thought.

Out of the package, the bar exhibits a pleasing lightness of colour and nice finish, although mould unevenness on the back particularly, suggest maybe a bit of hastiness in getting it into bar form. Still, no major problems here, and the same sensation applies to the aroma, which is mild but interesting, with cedar interposing surprisingly with vanilla (surprising in that there’s no vanilla in the formulation!) along with winey, blackcurrant hints that speak of depth. Nothing amazing, but no real problems.

Flavour leans very strongly towards redcurrant initially with a sharp acidity suggesting rather insistent fermentation. However, a soothing creamy feeling then emerges, before the flavour drops into woody/cedar with hints of coffee and cocoa (could Coppeneur’s typical heavy roast be getting the better of the finish?) All in all it’s a nice flavour development, although one senses perhaps that it could have been better: all of the flavours herein are “old friends”, so to speak, that one is accustomed to tasting in many chocolates, even if here they have clearly been handled skilfully.

Melt is a bit more problematic, somewhat soft and fudgey, and perhaps suggesting that less sugar would help. Certainly it might bring out more of the flavours within. Indeed, overall this bar is strongly reminiscent of early Amano Ocumare: another interpretation that at the time seemed obviously fine but somehow generic. As we’ve seen, however, Amano, following a consistent pattern of dedicated improvement, has gone from strength to strength and brought out some great chocolates, there is reason to hope Hotel Chocolat will do likewise. Maybe this is a chocolate still under development, but it’s developing nicely.

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