This is the second of three Purist bars that I will be reviewing from Hotel Chocolat. This particular bar is from the Rabot Estate, Saint Lucia.
The estate is owned by Hotel Chocolat and came into their ownership in April 2006. The race to find such a location came about when a member of the Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club found a book dating back to the 1920's, Cocoa & Chocolate, Their History from Plantation to Consumer. The book covered how in the 1920's it was common place for Chocolatiers to make their own chocolate from the bean and how important the region of the Caribbean was. Cocoa production almost disappeared as bananas and tourism took centre stage. The cocoa beans from this part of the world are mainly Trinitario and therefore of good quality.
To cut a long story short Angus Thirlwell (co-founder) gained approval from the board, searched the Caribbean and found the Rabot Estate plantation in St Lucia. In May 2006 the restoration of the estate began and as they say the rest is history.
The Packaging: As with the other Purist bar I reviewed the packaging is exactly the same. Each 'tongue' of chocolate is wrapped in cellophane taped down with a long label which includes some helpful tasting notes.
The Chocolate: This is an interesting bar of chocolate and to quote the tasting notes, "Dash of Milk - a new style of chocolate midway between a classic milk and a classic dark". When you open the wrapper on this bar of chocolate you are immediately greeted with a strong tobacco and leather aroma which gives you the impression that it is going to be very dry. Usually a 90% dark chocolate will have little sugar and is likely to be dry on the pallet. So, it will be interesting to see how the milk chocolate works. The bar is beautifully tempered and has a great snap! Immediately on placing this bar on your tongue you can taste the depth to this chocolate. There is a slight bitterness which sends me on edge slightly but this is quickly lost as you hit a layer of creamy milk chocolate.
The combination of dark and milk layers certainly helps to reduce the chalky, dryness that appears and then disappears. This dark chocolate is not for a 'beginner' as it is fairly stringent and strong in flavour. Sugar is very low down on the ingredient list!
Overall I give this bar 7/10 for presentation and flavour unfortunately for me it was just a little too strong and the dry, chalky feeling on my mouth was not encouraging me to eat more! This 35g bar will cost you £3.00 but I received a discount of 50p when I purchased 3 bars.
To see their full range connect to Hotel Chocolat