Rabot 1745 is the name Hotel Chocolat gives to their bean-to-bar range that it produces in small batches at its Huntingdon factory and in some of its higher profile stores.
These stores, each with their own roaster, winnower, conch and tempering machine used to be known as ‘Roast+Conch’, but the company has rebranded its stores so often lately, I’m not sure they even have a name now. Suffice to say you can buy the Rabot 1745 bars online and in just about any Hotel Chocolat shop.
This particular bar was purchased in the Brighton store where I was offered a piece to taste. It was interesting enough that I ended up buying a whole bar to take home.
If you’re the kind of person who always wants to know more about their chocolate, then you won’t be disappointed with the wealth of information on this pack. The front tells me it’s made with 2013 harvest beans from the Mekong Delta & Dong Nai. It’s roasted for 25 minutes at 125C and conched for 40 hours by Senior Chocolatier Kiri Kalenko.
On the inside you can read the story of Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot Estate plantation in Saint Lucia, as well as a little history of Vietnamese cocoa.
There’s also a “Tastometer” chart that manages to plot the flavour profiles cocoa of different origins onto a single line. It seems to be an attempt to say “this bar is fruity, but not as fruity as some Madagascan origin bars”. As flavour profiles aren’t a one dimensional thing and I don’t think it’s particularly helpful here, but some may find it useful.
At 80% cocoa solids, this is a fairly hard hitting chocolate. It’s one that you need to allow to melt slowly to get the best from. I found an initial tannic bitterness developed into a punchy, fruity flavour if I let it melt slowly on the tongue.
The tasting notes on the front describe it as “A dragon with a taste for red fruit” and it turns out that’s a pretty good way to describe it. Initially it seems like it might bite your head off, but give it a moment and the wonderfully sweet cherry and raspberry notes come to the front, before the flavour finally transitions to something quite smooth and smoky. It’s really rather good.
This is certainly not the kind of chocolate you eat in one go. But a couple of pieces make a great afternoon pick-me-up.
Note that if you buy it online from the link below, the product description refers to a 2012 harvest version of this bar with slightly different tasting notes. You may or may not get this more recent version when you buy yours.