What I loved about the other Rabot Estate bar I’ve tried, the 50% Dash of Milk was its bity, cocoa nib flavour which set it apart from most other chocolate I’ve tried to date. That quality is continued with hightened robustness in this 65% bar, which incorporates Piedmont Hazelnuts this time.
I suppose the Rabot Estate rusticness is a foil to the traditional Hotel Chocolat sophistication. If that is their aim, and I am confident it is, they’ve hit the nail right, smack, bank; square on the head. As with the Dash of Milk chocolate bar, this one is packaged as if it came from a country fair: broken, ad hoc without much polish – and I love it for that fact.
This is where the duality of my chocolate preferences come out. I love the sophiscation, the Royles Royce “clunk” of the Beschle Caranero Superior 70% Cocoa whereas this has a great 4×4 Volvo, drive through the corn fields of East Anglia with the sun beating down feel to it – and both are fantastic in their own right.
The guys at Rabot Estate indicate on the back of the packat what they feel it tastes like: “raisins, figs, oaked wine, tobacco, honey and grapefruit” and those views are pretty much duplicated with my own. I can definitely pick up the fig character, but I feel the flavours are more mild than the raisin they describe as they’re typically more acidic than this bar gives. The aroma may be acidic, but not the flavour. There does appear to be a great smokey dimension to the flavour which you get from the less polished couverture whilst the later stages of the melt are met with that definite honey to caramel edge as the chocolate finaly dissapears.
Without going over the top, there does seem to be a mini-soap opera going on as you taste this bar. It’s certainly not one-dimensional. But with that it becomes an acquired taste. This isn’t for someone that loves smooth, unoffensive, mass-produced, clinical, tasteless chocolate. From my limited sample, it would suggest that Rabot Estate chocolate is a like a country music band playing in a hidden farm building during a downpour: surprising but totally welcome!