Monday, August 4, 2014

Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 Venezuela Chuao

Hotel Chocolat Rabot Venezuela ChuaoWhile in London earlier this year, I made sure to visit some of the finer chocolate shops. One I wanted to go to in particular was one of the Hotel Chocolat locations known as Roast+Conch, where they actually make some bean to bar chocolate. The location in the Borough Market in the Bankside district of London and includes a full restaurant that features cacao as an ingredient in every dish.

After eating a wonderful lunch, my mother and I browsed the store on the ground level. The cacao of the day was Trinidad, with the beans being served before lunch and some pieces of freshly made chocolate served at the end of the meal. So I was sure to pick up a bar of that. Then I also wanted to try another bar from their Rabot 1745 line. Though Hotel Chocolate uses Callebaut chocolate in their other confections, their Rabot line is made in conjunction with Coppeneur in Germany (one of my favorite chocolate makers). I didn’t know that at the time, but now it doesn’t surprise me at all.

I picked out a Venezuela Chuao 70% bar. Chuao cacao has a strong reputation as some of the best beans in the world (here’s a sampling of some bars I tasted a few years ago).

Hotel Chocolat gives extensive information about the handling of the beans and making of the cacao. The bar itself is 70% cacao with just three ingredients: cacao mass, cane sugar and soy lecithin.

The description of this bar from Hotel Chocolat goes something like this: Prima Donna with talent. She’s good and she knows it – an interplay of cream and caramel with malt and raisins, roast nuts and plenty of elegant poise.

Harvest: 2012

Roasting time: 35min @135 C.

Refining & Conching: 72hrs

Rabot 1845 Hotel Chocolat Trinidad & Venezuela
(The large bar on the bottom is the Chuao and the smaller bar on the top is the Trinidad)

The bar is wonderfully dark with an interesting texture from the mold. Though it’s rather thick, it’s quite easy to snap.

The scent is woodsy with some green notes like jasmine and olives. The melt is smooth, though it has a bitter note right away, a sort of dryness that gives it an acidic bite. But the buttery texture makes that all quite palatable. I caught a burnt note to it, a sort of smoke but nothing that’s unpleasant. It doesn’t have some of the other nutty notes I enjoy in other Venezuelan chocolate, mostly those from Ocumare. But I’d definitely eat this again, mostly because the texture is so nice, especially since it’s such a high cacao content.

Hotel Chocolat Rabot TrinidadThe smaller Trinidad bar I picked up was good. It was noticeably different than the Chuao in a few ways.

The bar itself just came in the cellophane sleeve with a label, there was no box. The label also didn’t say anything about the conch time or the harvest, just the date the bar was best by. The Hotel Chocolat website says that they use Trinitario beans (which makes sense, since they’re from Trinidad where the varietal originated).

It’s a 75% bar, so it’s only a little bit darker than the Chuao. The texture is far and away different, it’s grittier and sort of rustic in its overall flavors. It’s woodsy with some coffee and black pepper notes, a little toffee and brown sugar as well. It’s kind of bitter, but not overly dry at the finish. The meal we had in the restaurant started with these beans and then later finished with little medallions of chocolate also from Trinidad beans. I like the idea of buying chocolate that’s made right before my eyes, but the reality is that I prefer to eat the chocolate that’s been carefully crafted ... and I don’t have to witness it to enjoy it.

I’ve found that I like a long conch on my chocolate, part of what I like about a good chocolate bar is the texture. In most cases a long conch gives the cacao not only the time it needs to become smooth, but also for the flavors to develop. I did a taste test a few years back with some Coppeneur Chuao that had been conched 70 hours and 100 hours. Much of the mass-market chocolate we consume is conched for less than a day, some for two days ... I found that a 3 day conch is fine for me, anything over that gets kind of muddy in the flavor department but does create an amazingly smooth texture.

The Rabot 1745 line from Hotel Chocolat is a worthwhile way to experience single origin chocolate along with a lot of information about the making of the bar itself, as few chocolate makers include the origin, harvest date, roasting and conch time.



Name: Venezuela Chuao 70%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hotel Chocolat
Place Purchased: Hotel Chocolat (Bankside - London)
Price: £7.50 ($12.65)
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Hotel Chocolat, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Single Origin, 7-Worth It, United Kingdom

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:13 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyReviewHotel ChocolatChocolateEthically SourcedSingle Origin7-Worth ItUnited Kingdom

Comments
  1. Those flavors for both the Chuao and the Trinidad are not really representative of them. I guess Coppeneur has declined ever since they made some major changes a few years ago.

    Comment by Jason on 8/06/14 at 8:58 am #

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